Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Okay, so I got up about 5am, started retyping the final draft of a script that got lost during the Great Crash of Early Last Month for a prospective producer.

Went to work and sorted mail for two hours.

Came home and realized that I didn't have to retype the script after all - my scanner has an OCR setting.

Did that and reformatted.

Tried unsuccessfully to trim the dog run. It's half-an acre of lawn that the dogs don't use for much beyond an escape route, but it's overgrown right now thanks to the rain and heat. There are Triffids slowly overtaking the house. If it ever dries out, I plan to mow as well. Which is always fun...

Took my dog to the vet. He has high cholesterol (it's a thyroid thing) and is prone to seizures. He didn't enjoy the trip.

So now I'm home, the sun is 40 feet from the surface of the Earth.

And I'm looking at this award I got from the Pittsburgh Filmworkers this past weekend (as I'm sure you've already read all about the festival, there's no reason for me to recap). The little plaque reads: "Best Film, June 4, 2005, The Resurrection Game"

Then it has my name, "Mike Watt" (in case you forgot), right underneath the title.

Which, of course, got me thinking about the auteur theory.

Despite all my bitching and grumbling about this movie over the past near-decade, I do not consider this to be my movie. The Resurrection Game belongs to everyone at Happy Cloud Pictures, but, to be honest, it belongs most to myself, Amy Lynn Best and Bill Homan. We went through the whole mess together from start to finish.

Yes, I wrote the script.

Based on ideas and concepts Bill had already dredged up about the future existence of zombies. The idea of fighting "cancer with cancer" creating zombies was actually inspired by an early AIDS vaccine that involved genetically-engineered strains of cancer. And since Bill was convinced that a zombie plague was actually going to occur - and we bought into it on the premise that "hey, what if he's right?" and assisted in helping him pick out apartments for us on the basis of "most easily barricaded" - it was a natural inspiration for a screenplay.

Yes, I directed the movie.

But primarily the technical aspects of it. I worked with the DP and his AC (whoever those were at the time), and dictated where the camera would be, what lighting we should use, etc. For the most part, Amy directed the actors. There were even times she was the DP.

Yes, I edited the movie.

But each and every cut was scrutinized by Amy and Bill. They were the producers and had as much input into things as I did. In fact, a lot of the initial editing was done on our in-home upright Moviola while shooting was still going on, so they had almost immediate access to the thing as I finished it.

Yes, I cut the negative.

But Amy did as well. Maybe not as many reels, but that's because she was busy at her full-time job, making sure we had the money for me to sit at home and cut the damned negative.

And yes, I re-edited the movie countless times digitally, but see the above previous mention of "editing" and you're back where we started.

We all had something to gain and/or lose by the completion of The Resurrection Game. To say that I'm the author, or that I'm responsible for this "Best Movie" is ludicrous.

And this is something we all three agree on as partners in and founders of Happy Cloud Pictures. We dislike the auteur theory. So much so that we never include "A Film By" credit in our productions.

We always start with "Happy Cloud Pictures" presents. That way, every member of HCP can feel proud of the final product.

More importantly, they can feel responsible for the end product.

That's the final reason to disregard the auteur theory: sure, it's fun to accept the credit; it's more practical to spread around the blame.

But, ultimately, we haven't made anything we aren't proud of by the end of the day.

And I refuse to add the word "yet" to that sentence.


For those of you who are not utterly sick to death of reading about The Resurrection Game are recommended to check out my new "Random Acts of Mike Watt" article over at b-movie.com.

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