Posts Tagged ‘Charlie Kaufman’

It started with this post. And then the arguments continued in the comments box. Then the coincidence happened – details about Charlie Kaufman’s latest film Frank Or Francis appeared and it seems it has little bit of all of us. Here’s Anurag Kashyap on what we are doing and what we should be doing instead…

Quoting “Gandhi” here seems the only relevant argument i can make now. This post is in response to all the acid i have been seeing flowing on the blogs and social networking sites from those very people who have it in them to change the state of things.

I know i have become the system and i am not the same anymore and the endless “what happened to me argument” .. but this is not about me, this is about all you people who are constantly frustrated with the system, and vitriolic and angry. If you are waiting for an Anna Hazare to come and save the cinema, well the system knows how to work even around an Anna Hazare. And Anna spoke of an issue that was closer to the masses, the change that all of you want in Cinema is not closer to masses, its closer to you, because masses have the cinema they want. Fight is not to end one kind of cinema, Fight is to co exist, Fight is to be allowed to make the cinema one believes in. Fight is for the survival of that cinema one believes in. A Francis can go on abusing and cribbing but he will affect only those who allow themselves to be affected by him, once they are affected by him, that Frank also becomes a vestigial organ to the system, which the system amputates.

I have fought too. Fought while working in the system. And do not expect me to carry on the fight. I fought for myself and made my space and now i am doing what i wanted to do. And helping those who can help themselves to do it. I have done my bit, A lot of us have done our bit and now its your turn.

This specifically to that one person i have always had lots of hopes from, someone who still lives a dual identity – @moifightclub. Its been years that you have been complaining (wishing) if i may say so for things to be the way you want. Well stop wishing, its been long. Step up to the challenge and take it on and write .

I don’t say this to people who are the critics and are film buffs and cinema lovers, who are often disappointed and criticise. They have every right to criticise and be vitriolic. Its up to us (criticised) to decide whose criticism we want to pay heed to. I write this for the ones who want to write and create cinema and complain about no one reading their script or understanding what they bring to the table. ref (i will read your fucking script).

No one, (read NO-ONE) is obligated to read your script, no one is obligated to understand your need to create, its your need and you have to fullfill it. You have to get in there and do it. A producer is a businessman and he is there to do business, he will make films which are star driven and will not care about the content till those films start to do the business for him. The day content starts bringing in the audience and, IF he starts to understand content, he will start to make your films. That IF is a very big IF. He is not you , like you are not him, because if you were him, you will not understand the content either and if you, you will make a bad businessman who is sure to shut down (Ramu). In order to have the freedom a director often becomes a producer, and the day he becomes a producer, a sort of slow creative decline begins, because he starts to understand the requirements of a producer. Be it a Yashraj, or a Ramu or a Mani Ratnam or a Ketan Mehta or even a small-timer like me. Which is why we become better producers than directors and yes, we struggle a hell of a lot to make our way in the system and try and keep our creative honesty intact. Its a lot of struggle. You have to be both a whore and a virgin, because here only a whore can create space for the virgin and not for all of them, its tougher trying to be both. So a whore (me) goes about choosing her virgins, Virgins who work hard at remaining one. Who toil and slog and sweat and go hungry, and often alone, and focused. I will not choose some one who does not have the courage to stick to it so will not the others.

Change will be brought by people who are at it and not AT THEM. Change will be a Q who goes out and does what he wants to and, yes, his GANDU might never be allowed by the system to come out and yes, i don’t completely feel comfortable with a GANDU in its entirety but then there is an uncompromising vision and that vision allows him to make his next film. and he goes on to make that rather than sit and complain about GANDU not releasing. Change will be a Vasan Bala who does not care about my approval of his script or even yours @fightclub. He puts his neck on line and not under a pseudonym. He will learn some and also teach us some. Change will be a Sandeep Mohan who went ahead and raised his money and convinced enough number of people to allow him to and participate in and finished his movie. Yes, he learnt some things and he also taught us something. He taught us that it is possible and you don’t need an Excel or UTV or me to read a script. He also learnt about things he shouldn’t have done and he is ready with two more scripts. Change will be a Shlok Sharma, who is not articulate enough to be on a blog or a social networking site, whose every answer to any questions asked in English at the festivals, where his shorts won awards for, was “Yes Yes No”. Change will be a Ghaywan, who goes and borrows money and does it despite of no faith put in him. Change will be @chillicrabmovie, who is going on raising money on the net to make what he believes in and not waiting for the “Existing” to understand him. Stop revelling in what other writers have to say about the state of the Studios and their creativity. At least those who say it have been through it and came out flying and deal with it on a daily basis and teach you how to deal with them. They are not vitriolic. Be grateful for what they say and don’t use what they say to justify your unemployment or your not yet being there. Ever since the world was here, wisdom has been gained by experience and its passed on. The ball has been passed to you and you are in the game, and you are not invited, no body wants you here, but your being here will bring change and your bring here will bring a new wisdom which will have to be passed on. When you (Fightclub & Manu Warrier) justify having the right to have read a script of an unreleased film like Game, then you also can not use the non release of your existing film that you have done to not write about how was the experience and how what you envisaged didn’t turn out to be and do not fucking use the excuse that we only wrote to the directors expectation. Because if you have that excuse then bloody well stop complaining. To bring change you need BALLS and you don’t need balls to fight them, you need most balls to be bloody honest about yourself first, to be able to look at your own selves and analyse and understand it before looking at others. And here you can not play that congress game,”but he is corrupt too”. When you guys can do that you can have that change. Be the Change you seek. If you want to be Frank, then do not hide behind Francis. If you don’t want to be Frank, then being a Francis is fine and great and i will listen to you.

Frankly i am slowly getting weary. I am weary of all those from the days of PFC who do not participate. I admire a Katrthik Krishnan who retains his anger and struggles to find balance between what he expects from others and what he needs to do. He understands when one fails and why one fails and has his remarks about it and then also tries to find objectivity vis a vis his bad experiences and try not to repeat them, all that along with trying to survive and be on his own. It is not a clear cut path made out for anyone. Some chose to step in. How you come out of it is another matter? But atleast you tried. I will always listen to and would want to look at the man who is in the arena than be one from the sides. It does not mean that people can not chose to be on the sides. You can, but then you don’t know anything about the fight. You just like the idea of winning and you know how to cheer and how to be disappointed. You have never known the pleasure of fighting. You might as well pick up the flowers and wear the tights and start dancing to the beats like they do at the IPL games, when a boundary has been scored and sit and yawn when nothing happens then cheer again when one is bowled out.

Cinema is dear to me, and if i can say so, more dear than it is to anyone. I am a bigger filmbuff than anyone and i go and watch a film to see “what someone has done” than going to see “whether they have done what i expected them to do or not”. I have earned a lot of money in life, enough to build me whatever one wishes to but i haven’t after being 19 years in this industry. Because all of it was spent watching and acquiring cinema. I never had access to internet and never understood it like you do and before i did discover it, i had developed a habit of watching it like the filmmaker intended his audience to watch it in, one of HIS chosen formats. You guys today have more access to it, and you can do what you seek from others to do. If others (Producers) understood you, or what you have to offer, your struggle would have been four times than it is now because there expectations would have been much higher than what you have from them now. Because then it would have been a different cinema atmosphere and you would be one of many thousands and you really would have to be “the Charlie Kaufman” or “the John August” for them to give you an audience. And if you think a Charlie Kaufman is there because someone up there understood what he had to say and why the fuck there is no body like that here than really go back home. Because he also found his way in and because even a Michel Gondry struggles more than you to have his film green lit, because an ANG LEE waited three years after BrokeBack Mountain to get a greenlight on “Life of Pi”. Because even a Slumdog Millionaire was going straight to DVD and a Hurt Locker was ignored by all. Each of these individuals and there story is about self belief and determination and focus and the overwhelming desire to do it. A desire thats far more stronger and forceful than the frustration you have. Having been around the world and being friends with some of the greatest directors of today, you will be shocked to know that a Danis Tanovich (No Man’s Land) is having a tough time getting his film funded, Fatih Akin came to india last year to find funding , and he had the balls to say no to big hollywood studio (that did not understand him and is actually the biggest alternate label in hollywood) that pretended to get him. You will be shocked to know that whatever little resources I have, i am in a better position than most of the filmmakers that i admire to keep making films, in a country like India that they sometimes seek me to raise money. I say this because, whether you believe me or not you are blessed to be in a country like India which is so film obsessed that you can actually go out and make your own film. Your struggle starts after having made it.

And here everyone wants to finance films and be part of it, most of the films from Europe and South America and UK and Africa and China (not HongKong) are institution funded films. They come with their own set of artistic restrictions. Barring India, Hollywood, Japan, HongKong, Italy, France most countries don’t have the crew quoting fees. They have fixed percentage based on the budget. You would be very happy , if your film just go made in those countries. Take advantage of being in this country. Something i have learnt the hard way. DO IT.

And for the last time stop quoting Charlie Kaufman to justify yourself or defend your argument, because Charlie Kaufman not just writes for himself but he also has the patience and perseverance to find the right director to collaborate with. He did not just write it and gave it to anyone who wanted to take it and then blame it on him. He is never in a hurry to get it made. Unlike most of you who will give your script to anyone or write to the director’s requirement. If you do then find someone else to quote and put forth your argument for not having tried enough. Film is a director’s medium yes, but writer is also the part of the creation, he creates before the director comes in and uses his material, his job is also to inspire the director enough to use his imagination, to live up to the writing or just go and do dialogues and be a hack like i was in all those 7 years writing to what was expected of me and then not bother about it and stay out of the process of shooting and really do something to bring a change where you can stop being a hack.

I write this because i do not want to fight any of you anymore, because i am not your enemy. And it worries me that it all might just amount to nothing. I want the change as much as you want but i feel disheartened seeing all you forming a coterie only complaining. Complaining is fine for sometime, but when the same set of people go on about it, forever and for beyond the time they should have then something else is wrong. You need to find courage to quit the security of your job and if you can’t, then you need to find a way to work along with having a job, and that can only happen with little bit of constructivism, and it can not happen with identifying your misery with what other bonafide people have to say from their experiences because they are not haing the same experiences in the same world that you are trying to be part of.

I think i have tried to explain and asked you to see what i really want to say and hope that it did mean something. Baki ..

Jo Bhi main Kehna Chaahoon, Barbaad karein alfaaz mere…

(PS – The Motorcycle Diaries pic is added by us. Not sure if AK endorses it. Apologies if he doesn’t)

VOTD : 70mins of Charlie Kaufman

Posted: March 4, 2011 by moifightclub in Hollywood, VOTD
Tags: ,

what else do you want ? And it has some priceless gems too. Like this one about Being John Malkovich – I described the tunnel in the script as vaginal and Spike made it Anal, not exactly what i wanted but now it’s all water under the bridge. Click on the play button and enjoy!

And if you don’t have time to watch the entire video, here are some excerpts from the interview…

Formula – ….It doesnt appeal to me to have a kind of formula for writing anything. Some people like it and it helps them. So i am not going to tell people to no to do it… not interested in going in with any kind of framework because it inhibits the possibilities for me.

Adaptation – The main character in the movie is the screenplay itself….from its initial evolution  of the screenplay to its ultimate corruption….that is the tragedy of this creature that is the screenplay….he never was able to make a movie about flowers….Donald represents a corrupting influence..he is a nice enough guy….probably much nicer than Charlie but i don’t think he is helping matter.

Hollywood Romances – It has been damaging to my relationship at least..i can talk about myself.. it sorts of set up unreal expectations and which you then project onto your partners and it just destroys the possibility of any kind of actual conversation.

Taking Risks – I think if what you are doing doesn’t have the possibility of failing, then by definition , you are not doing anything new. That’s  really the way it is. And if you know how to do what you are doing and/or you have seen it done before, then you are not doing anything. So, the only way you can do anything new or interesting is to open up yourself to the risk of failing. And in that sense, I try to look at success and failure both as neutral thing. It’s hard and am not always successful in accepting failure but I feel that I need to keep reminding myself of that…this is the only way it will be worth anything at all…..May be, won’t be….But it definitely won’t be if i don’t do that.

Characters taking themselves seriously – People take themselves very seriously and their struggles are very serious. Life is hard and everyone’s got a struggle. May be, that’s sort of who  I am too…I am not a carefree person….May be so I don’t write carefree people because of that…I don’t know….wish i were.

Synecdoche, New York – I made that movie and I also didn’t understand what was going on there.

Stories – I am not really interested in stories because stories are things that are kind of  have polished end…and seen from a distance….and i want to do things which feels like I am immersed in it when i am working in it….and the audience will experience that immersion and that chaos  and confusion of actual existence as opposed to a story with beginning, middle and end….And a kind of distance, perspective and life lessons that doesn’t really seem to be part of moment to moment  of life that i have….Does that make any sense ?

Direction – I think I have opinions about visual things, about aesthetic things, have lot of interest in paintings and compositions….am novice when it comes to technical stuff of cinematography…..i think all you really have is your opinions.  That’s what your value is….as a director you hope you have good opinions…people will show you stuff and you hope that you like the good stuff.

Money – ….there is lot of “trying to get money” in my life.

Writing – I just add more ideas…when I am writing I generally don’t have an outline that I have to get from this point to this point….I find that kind of constricting..So I like the thing to develop the way it develops. If I have a new idea that excites me, I will include it if i can.

Why John Malkovich ? – It’s funny to me. That’s really the only reason. I can tell you why it is funny but i don’t know if that will matter….when i was writing this script i wasn’t planning on this movie ever getting made, so i could make it whoever i wanted. When Spike came on board, we thought we could get it made and we didn’t have John Malkovich yet, we had to think of other people and possibilities and my instincts were confirmed because we could not come up with anybody who worked as well as John Malkovich.

Struggle – It’s harder when you are trying to do your own thing and then they don’t see a precedent for it…Its harder to get in….It took me over 11 years from the time i left college to my first writing job. It just wouldn’t happened…..what happens is that more people see you are stuff, you get to talk to people, the greater the chance that you will hook up with somebody who gets it and wants to do it… perseverance, and if you believe in your stuff then you should do it and continue to push for it.

Writers/Directors/Hollywood – …there is the auteur theory that confused everyone for a long time…..writing in Hollywood is not really important….It’s proven again and again….those who market movies and make movies, they don’t need writers….the worst movies with the most problematic scripts become the most successful movies….then you see that  writers aren’t important.  But directors have a visual language and some of them are celebrities and big names too.

Q. Inception – My friend said that Inception was like a James Bond film written by Charlie Kaufman. what do you say ?

A. …..i have to be very careful about it……(silence)…..i don’t know…(long silence)….You know the weird thing is you cannot say anything anymore anywhere without it appearing online. So i am not going to say anything anywhere anymore.

Q. What is your reason for making/writing films ?

A…..I think its something that i always wanted to do as a always excited me..the make believe world….its my job….am trying to pay a mortgage and i like this particular kind of job, and i guess it defines me or it helps me feel defined..may be i have something to prove..terrible reasons ? …..i don’t know…why i do it..i don’t know what else  i will do…it sounds bad, right ? I mean, i kind of like it sometimes but sometimes it’s really hard, it’s a struggle and i get depressed. But i will probably get depressed being a homicide detective.

End note – But i do want one more question because there is absolutely no more way that i am going to end on that question…that was like yeeeawwkkkh. Make it something nice, i don’t want to end on that question.

Tip – Jahan Bakshi

We all have been INCEPTED! Ok, except few here and there. And few who belong to U-25! Guys, go easy on that age factor, seriously. Am going all cerebral here. Deep down, three levels. #JGrin

Lot of us, including Vasan Bala worship Charlie Kaufman. So, to compare anyone else with him is itself a big compliment. But Christopher Nolan is not “anyone”. Oops.

Vasan is the third musketeer in our group whom we ditched and went to see Inception before it hit the theatres today. But seems like for the next Nolan movie, I have to give him the preference because he has dethroned the old fanboy Kartik Krishnan. Vasan has nailed it and how! In short, simple and crisper way and much like one of the central thoughts of the film – you don’t remember where you start dreaming from, rite ? Its “Being Christopher Nolan“. Read on. For Kartik Krishnan’s post click here and for my orgamsic non-stop twitter post, click here.

Some people are calling it the Cerebral Blockbuster.

Some say it’s all mind and detached from the heart.

I call it the Charlie Kaufman Action Movie.


Then again something in me says the seeds of Inception were thrown in when Sammy Jankis was born or was it the insulin, or was it when the search for John.G began…it never ended…did it…ok…where was I ?

Or when Will Dormer could not sleep in the endless daylight of Alaska ?

Or was it when Angier’s wife drowned.

Or was it Bowden’s arrogance in pushing his devotion for magic too far which led to a lot of blood shed, scarred egos, tons of accumulated guilt. Were we watching closely?

But then wait wait wait…Cobb….was always there, right from the start FOLLOWING the young man. A serial burglar….a thief getting into the mind of the YOUNG MAN.

As Cobb said in the Following “You take it away, and show them what they had.”

Cobb here in Inception just takes a HUGE ‘LEAP OF FAITH’ and digs into some three more layers.

The art, the craft, the obsession, the love, the loss, the guilt, the anger, the redemption, was it all worth it…was it for real…are you willing to put a bullet to your head to know ?

INCEPTION is one of those Kaufman moments where the genius lies in telling a simple story in a seemingly complex way yet with plenty of leads to find your way, almost spoon feeding you and making you feel cerebral enough to decipher HIS creation…..and all this with Nolan’s blockbuster vision. Where Kaufman failed at his SY^&%%$%^$ NEW Y$%^ maze Nolan builds it ever so complex yet so effortless, ever to explanatory yet so discreet. LET GO.

Am still quite dumbstruck by this illusionary cerebral elevation in my created by Nolan.

Fuck all that…..go watch it THRICE. Am already geared for level 2.

What last for 5 minutes will last for an hour in LEVEL 2….and the third???? Go figure!

It never stopped spinning….hahahahahahahahhahahahhahahahahahahha!!!

(PS – Lets ditch the old fanboy this time and go for Level 2 soon)