Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Francis Ford Iowa FAQ

Q: What was Danman Productions?
It was teen me scribbling so-called scripts in a notebook an hour or so before shooting it on my family's mini-VHS camera. (Yes, "mini-VHS" was an actual format.) It was me telling people what to do, poorly, and them, to various degrees, trying to do what I said, also poorly. It was an unmitigated disaster that lasted approximately four years and 40 videos--until my final 2-and-a-half-hour epic went over budget, over schedule, pissed off all my friends, and led to the overdue collapse of Danman Productions.

Q: These movies suck! They totally suck!
That's not a question.

Q: At least tell me why the editing is so lousy.
Cut me some slack! I didn't have any editing equipment. The movie had to be shot in sequential order. If I wanted music, I had to play it live from a boombox. If an actor flubbed a line there were only two options: 1) ignore it; or 2) rewind the camera, which was wildly risky--it usually lopped off the end of the previous shot. Eventually, to anticipate such lopping, I began ending all scenes with excessively long, soap-opera style close-ups. It was a constant battle of Suck vs. Suckier.

Q: And why does everything keep going out of focus?
Only years later did I see that the camera had a manual-focus button. Not that I would've known what "manual focus" meant.

Q: Why does the sound keep dropping out?
Being a teenage moron, I thought it was a great idea to record all my movies onto a single VHS cassette set to "EP" speed. For you youngsters out there, that meant I could fit 6 hours (ie, the entire Danman Productions oeuvre) onto one tape. Yay! It also meant that the tape degraded rapidly. Boo! When I recently crammed these movies through the internet tubes, sound issues emerged. It's a miracle they played at all, so stop complaining.

Q: Are you really going to upload every single one of these disasters?
You mean, how long shall I prolong the suffering? That's a toughie. I'm going to do at least 40 posts, everything up through my first magnum opus, The Godfathers Part One. After that, I might quit. Unless there's a public outcry or scads of money thrown my direction.

Q: What the funk does this have to do with your amazing new novel, The Monster Variations?
These early video exercises laid the groundwork for my future narrative endeavors. Hahahaha, you fell for it. Really I just want to celebrate my book release by embarrassing my childhood buddies. Duh.


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