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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

WSJ: San Francisco Armory Zoned For V. Indie (NC-17) Film

In San Franscisco’s Mission District, where real estate prices are as steep as the hills, who in the film and TV industry can afford to rent a creepy, derelict old building left vacant when the National Guard moved to better quarters?
Only the enterprising adults of the specialty adult direct-to-web video.
Peter Acworth of Kink.com convinced City Hall agree to sell him the State Armory and Arsenal building which looks like a Moorish castle — for $14.5 million. The Wall Street Journal online has the story on the community reaction and the Kink company’s efforts at community outreach: cleaning graffiti, fixing windows and offering internships in film/video production.
Reporter Vauhini Vara got this choice quote from a city planner as to why the city “didn’t notice the wordly about NC-17 films.”
“Frankly, I kind of missed that,” he says.
Another city planner says,”The planning code…is not really worried with moral propriety.”
You know how we can tell that that this company’s on the level, just like an ordinary film production company? Because the WSJ.com story (available for free if you register for a two week trial) says internship rather than paid internship. If you intern on a indie/art film, you don’t get paid. If you’re a production assistant on an adult film: you should expect to be paid. If not at the end of the day, at the end of the shoot. In cash.

San Francisco Armory/Studio via WSJ online

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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