Has there been a big change in you over this time. I notice the consistency in your mode is the big theme, but in this new one you’ve got more of a script. ^ We got away from that even more. If anything, I’ve come to realize that I need to be, in a way, truer to my own vision and less concerned with things like distribution and where it’s going to be shown. I’m trying to get more to the root of what these movies are, trying to weed out all these filters of what’s acceptable and what’s not. In a way, the movies have gotten a lot more out there since then. Cause yeah, in “Against” we used a script, but then in the one I’m editing now, “Takeaway,” there was no script at all, there’s actually very, very little dialogue in the entire movie, it mostly just revolves around one character. In a way I think I’m getting back to my experimental roots. Moving away from narrative, sort of acceptable… It’s exciting to be again trying to figure out what movies are, and what our movies are. We’re being even more creative than we ever were.
What’s your ideal film, what kind of filmmaker are you trying to be if you’re still seeking? ^ I dunno. I can’t really think of a filmmaker offhand.
What about you, forty years from now, what do you want to be doing? ^ Um, forty years from now? (Laughs) Just sort of keeping… What filmmakers should always be doing is keep reinventing the medium and narrative. For so long it’s sort of gotten bogged down in this three-, whatever, the three-point, three… what is it?
Three-act structure. ^ Three-act structure. I think I’m more interested in what it is to be alive and to be a person and to be living in this world in this time. And that’s something that I don’t think gets captured in movies much. And getting those characters that don’t get seen in movies. I just want to keep on being excited and being interested in new and different things. Once I start falling into formulas or that kind of thing then it’s time to call it quits for a while. The way I see it, every movie is a different step, going to a different place. And if it stops being that then I’ve stopped being creative.
What’s the latest tragedy in indie or underground film right now? What makes you mad in the indie film world? (Thinks) I dunno, there’s been so many crappy movies. (Thinks) Latest tragedy… I don’t know.
The latest film you’ve hated? ^ The thing that really bothers me about regular movies lately, there’s so much emphasis on these bad special effects that always look so fake and never suspend disbelief. I dunno, there’s no fantasy, there’s no… you don’t get swept up in movies anymore, you don’t get taken to a new and interesting world anymore, except I guess the last good movie I saw was Mulholland Drive. I think David Lynch has still got it, where you’re actually taken somewhere, taken on a journey, you don’t get that in movies anymore. I guess the continuing trend in Indie movies is, let’s get these has-been actors to, like, act and give these performances and stuff, re-discover these has-beens, it’s like, oh God, give me a break. Go out there and find some interesting new actors that we’ve never seen before. That’s something that you know, is continuing, that’s a continuing trend that really irks me.
So have you, with actors, what’s been your relationship with big actors, is there any interest, have you been thinking about it at all? ^ There’s been some interest. I mean, Faye Dunawaye went to “Once and Future Queen” at the LA film festival, that was kind of cool, she’s a wacko. (Laughs) She stayed for the whole thing too. She didn’t walk out. That’s always interesting when things like that happen. One of the things I’ve done, too, is I’ve written two scripts, and I’m working on a third which are, I don’t want to say traditional scripts, but they’re more, um, a story. They’re almost like novels in a way that I want to make into movies. And for those I’m interested in finding some interesting actors. They’re mostly kids in the movies. So that’s something I’m working on, is getting actors for those, and working, sort of, a little bit more in Hollywood terms in those kinds of things. Cause, I think, after all, from working on all these sort of improvisational movies, I’ve learned to listen to and respect actors, and I think it’ll be good to go back and actually work from a script with other actors. Having learned all this stuff doing all this improvisation, I think it’ll be a really interesting experiment to go back and see what happens with that. So that’s something I’m interested in too, is getting those movies made and at the same time making even more and more experimental films myself. I guess that’s sort of my ideal to go from making, sort of, bigger movies and then making my more experimental, completely uncommercial films. We’ll see what happens.
Where is the DV revolution at right now? Where are things sort of sitting in terms of this conversion of the industry, or the underground world, or whatever? ^ I think the good thing is that a lot of people are realizing that in the underground world, a lot more people are making movies and realizing that they can just get a camera and edit it on their computer and even edit on videotape itself. They’re realizing that that is valid, that is as valid as a film, and it can be projected in a theatre, bla bla bla. And that’s good. The bad thing is that there’s still, from a Hollywood or more independent film world, there’s still this emphasis on, ‘oh, it’s video’ or, ‘if we’re gonna shoot it on video it’s gonna be like a regular movie, I want it to look like film, and I want it to be like a film.’ They’re not realizing this is sort of opening a whole creative world that was there before but no one was using. You know, whereas, to me what’s important about the whole DV revolution is that filmmakers should realize that I can make a movie any way I want, regardless if I shoot it on film or video, or using a slide projector or whatever. The important thing is that all these rules that have come into filmmaking, all these rules, question these rules. Why is it that I have to shoot with a big crew, shoot out of sequence, use synch sound, light it in this way? All these rules and rules and rules that have been piled on filmmaking for the last hundred years, you know, what are they, what’s the purpose of them, and do I really need them? That, I think, is the important thing to come out of this. And that, I think, is getting a little lost in the Hollywood independent world. But not in the underground world, definitely. It’s exciting cause there’s a lot of people making cool interesting movies, but the problem is, how do you see them?
Get the rest of the interview in the next part of TODD VEROW: ONCE AND FUTURE KING OF DV>>>