Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Record AFTER previews, Dad.

Recently my old high school invited me back to speak about my novel, and I took the opportunity to plunder the cardboard-box catacombs of my dad's basement. Like Indiana Jones, I was on the hunt for the most fabled of treasures from the storied history of Danman Productions. Did the dusty archives yield the rarities I sought?

WANTED: Trailers X
DESCRIPTION: At some point during my teen years, my town debuted a public access station. Finally, my opuses could be seen (or ignored) by a much wider audience! For one of these presentations, I decided to shoot some trailers. Tragically, these trailers - which included the shocking and infamous "General Foods International Coffee" parody - never made it on to the master tape and thus have been considered lost for well over a decade.

RESULT: Found! Oh my god! Found! Upon uncovering the endless stacks of mini-VHS tapes, I knew it was a fool's errand to sift through them. Most, if not all, had been repurposed over the years by my dad. But one tape caught my eye. Why? Because, in my childlike scrawl, I had written a desperate plea on the sticker: "Record AFTER previews, Dad." I made lots of previews. Surely this couldn't be the Holy Grail. But yes. It was. And it will blow your mind. Stay tuned.

DESCRIPTION: For one public access showing, I decided to string together a broadcast premiere (Harvest of Wrath) followed by a rehash of so-called "hits" (Chicken Clock, Night of the Living Dead, and Fear). But did I just artlessly splice them together? Heavens, no! I shot brand-new footage of me, as a Rod Serling-esque host, introducing each masterpiece. Long thought to be but legend, this priceless curio could fetch tens, even fifteens, of cents on the black market.

RESULT: Found! And, wow, I'm tempted to lose it all over again. Never before have I come off so insufferably smug. Easily some of the most damning footage of me in existence. And yet I will post it here. I fear nothing.

DESCRIPTION: I got news for you: this isn't the first time I've plundered my past. Only a handful of years after these atrocities were committed, I took a college class called "Video Art." In theory, this was supposed to produce videos like someone licking a mirror for fifteen minutes (yes, that was an actual Video Art project), but occasionally some yo-yo would buck the trend. Case in point: my Behind the Music-style mockumentary about Danman Productions, featuring interviews with nearly every key player. Though not part of the official canon, this has mucho interest for Danman scholars. (Note: though I shot the footage for Part II, it was never edited.) (EDIT: Part II has been finished!)

RESULT: Found - but hold in that scream of glee. I found it on 3/4-inch tape, which doesn't do me any damn good at all. I'm probably going to have to pay money to get this one transferred, and "paying money" and "Danman Productions" should never be found in the same sentence. So cool your heels, cowboy. [EDIT: Okay, here it is.]

DESCRIPTION: Danman's final production, the 2-and-a-half-hour epic The Godfathers, Part II, was so catastrophically ambitious that it brought down the entire studio. Still haunted by my failure years later, I locked myself (literally) inside a college editing studio one night and re-edited it, taking out all the long pauses, picking up the pace, and even incorporating a never-before-seen "deleted scene." Over one hour dropped from the running time. Yes, it's the first "director's cut" that is actually shorter than the original! Though only one VHS was ever made, it was highly prized by the very few who watched it. Why? Because, for the first time ever, it made the movie (dare I say it?) watchable.

RESULT: This one remains missing. [EDIT: It has been recreated!] [EDIT: Actually, the original has been found, too.]

WANTED: Julie's movies
DESCRIPTION: Julie? That sister of mine with the incredible talent for screaming? She made her own movies? Indeed! At some point, my megalomania must have rubbed off, for she shot a handful of flicks with her own set of friends. (The only one I remember is My Girl.) Now, technically these have nothing to do with me, but clearly Julie's films were the Miramax to my Disney. Back then I probably worried that her movies were better than mine. But I shall no longer live in fear.

RESULT: Found! I'm as shocked as you! Of course I do not have the authority to post them, but perhaps if enough of you demand permission...? Free Julie's movies! Free Julie's movies!

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At November 5, 2009 at 10:43 AM , Anonymous Nathan Luedtke said...

Are you still missing anything that was broadcast on public access? I know I have a tape somewhere.

At November 5, 2009 at 12:33 PM , Blogger DK said...

The only thing still missing is the "Godfathers 2 Director's Cut." It never played on public access. If you had that it would be no less than a miracle and thus you would receive godlike respect and adoration.

At November 5, 2009 at 9:52 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd put down ten bucks on Sex, Drugs and Film. It's not every day you get to see Jackson in a "I (heart) to fart" shirt.

At November 5, 2009 at 10:52 PM , Blogger Craig Ouellette said...


At November 6, 2009 at 10:25 AM , Blogger DK said...

Nelsor: Don't worry. Sex, Drugs & Film will be posted, though it will probably (and appropriately) be the last thing added to this blog. And who knows... maybe if I can find my raw footage I can even edit and then post a world premiere of Part Two. Granted, that's a lot of "ifs".

At November 6, 2009 at 10:57 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say put Julie's work on.


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