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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride

Four Eyed Monsters: DIY eyes wide open

At indieWIRE, Eugene Hernandez collates email and blog entries from Four Eyed Monsters co-everythings Arin Crumley and Susan Buice as they describe what it’s like to be left out in the open with a gentle, imaginative, inventive (and sometimes winsome and often adorable) independent, DIY Amelie-of-digital-video after more than a year of filmmaking and festival appearances at Slamdance, SxSW, Gen Arts and the Chicago Underground Film Festival with no distribution deal in sight and a pretty pile of credit card bills. “In the meetings we’ve presented our marketing plans and had a quick discussion about our bigger picture ideas of promoting our movie in innovative ways,”
Hernandez quotes Crumley. The pair prepared “materials to present to the rest of the company like a trailer, an edited preview of our free online content that will be used to promote the movie, a pitch video that explains our ideas on how the release could be successful, and a traditional press kit.” Bryan Wendorf of Chicago Underground Film Festival [Disclosure: I directed CUFF’s 2005 trailers] told me he was amazed at how the pair, whose alter egos meet via the fictitious “” had used MySpace in order to find copacetic crowds for the Chicago showings. “Most of Susan’s MySpacers are guys and Arin’s are girls,” Wendorf added. Hernandez reports that “Buice and Crumley recently met in Los Angeles with the CEO and the marketing director at… Apparently the meeting went quite well, but as of Friday they weren’t quite ready to announce how they might work with the website on a release of their film… An obvious option for the pair is self-distribution. As Buice explained… “Even though we’d rather be making movies we are willing to establish our own mini-distribution company, it would just be kind of pathetic though because then the only distribution offer we would have ever received would be the offer we gave ourselves.”

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon