The 3 (or 7) Houses of Parliament

Arrested Development Season 3I tried to upload a video from Arrested Development to You Tube. It was 22.8 seconds long and it was bookmarked between a screen that read, “Sometimes satire just makes things worse.” And “Now millions of ‘hip’ Americans think Parliament has 3 houses. Maybe it’s because Congress has three houses.”

The scene I took was from the episode “The Ocean Walker.” In it, Michael asks Rita, who is mentally challenged, how many houses are in the British Parliament. She replies, “Seven!” And Michael says, “That does sound about right.” Meanwhile, the narrator claims that the number is three. When I first saw this episode, I didn’t get the joke. Instead, I thought, “Wow, I’m stupid! I thought there were only two.” So I looked it up, and sure enough, I am stupid—not because I was wrong but because I’m so gullible; I’ll believe anything Ron Howard says.

It occurs to me that many people watching the show went away thinking that the British Parliament has three houses. Not only did the narrator say it twice, George Michael, the most earnest character ever created, says it as well.

But that 22.8 seconds of Arrested Development violated Fox’s copyright claim and the video was blocked instantly. (Ever notice how when uploading videos to YouTube, most of the time is spent “analyzing”? I believe that is just checking the video against such claims.) I am certain that what I’ve created falls under fair use. It is an outrage that such a tiny section of video is automatically discounted without thought by YouTube. What’s more, such a policy is bad for Arrested Development itself. Little snippets like this are nothing if not commercials.

So until I get a letter from Fox, the video is provided here. If I can figure out how to embed it directly here I will.


I’ve filed a dispute claiming fair use. Our society is screwed up when the onus of fair use is on the user, but so be it. Temporarily, the video is on YouTube. I am not hopeful for my claim—not because it is invalid but because the copyright law is now so skewed that it is hopeless. I’m looking forward to copyright being expanded another 15 years for the sake of Disney.

For the time:

Update (7 June 2014 11:00 pm)

I should have done this update a long time ago. Fox agreed with my claim and it is up for good, I guess. You could help me a little. The video currently has 7 thumbs up and 6 thumbs down. All of those 6 thumbs down came at the beginning. I think this is because they thought I was criticizing the show, which I’m not. I think this is one of the most brilliant jokes ever. So you could give the video a thumbs up.

27 thoughts on “The 3 (or 7) Houses of Parliament

  1. This was one of my favorite TV shows, I remember when I stumbled upon the very first episode. I thought: ‘what a smartly funny and refreshing new show!’ Later, I couldn’t believe how hard Fox seemed to be trying to ‘bury’ it (most people I know who’ve seen it, saw it only in re-runs on cable, or on DVD), I remember how Fox changed its schedule, put up re-runs in place of a ‘new episode’, etc. etc. Hell, even with my dogged attention and dedicated tracking of the show, I was unable to catch all of its final season (eventually I just bought all three seasons), but I was always puzzled by what Fox did. I still don’t really understand why.

    But, anyway-I ‘believed’ Ron Howard about there being THREE houses of Parliament, ha! Admittedly, I never actually knew how many there are, and I’m much more lazy with details like that than you. I never would have looked that up. In fact, I probably would have spent my existence believing it to be true? Until, of course, I encountered someone who knew better, someone like yourself. Still, I wonder how they got that so wrong? Seems easy enough to find out? And to repeat it so many times, wow?

    On the same subject, but off topic. I heard they’re shooting more episodes of AD on cable now? But, I also heard, at one time, they were making a feature film and that never happened-so who knows?

  2. @karl – I believe the "3 houses" is meant to be a joke. Rita is retarded so she has an excuse, but all you Americans don’t have any excuse. However, I think everyone really does know how many houses of Parliament there are. If they had said one, people would have thought, "But there are at least two: the House of Lords and the House of Commons." In a way, that’s why I think 3 is a good fake. It is close enough in the right direction for you to think, "Oh! I wonder what they third house is!"

    I gather there were some problems in the third season, but according to David Cross, the problem really wasn’t Fox. The agreed reason for the show’s failure (although 3 seasons is not really failure) is that too few people were in your position of having seen the first episode. I can see how it would be hard to pick it up in the middle.

    My friend Andrea send me all three seasons along with *The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra*. I have now had two lost weekends where I couldn’t stop watching Arrested Development. It really is great. (So is *Cadavra*–all those films are very good.)

    They keep talking about a movie or a series. Mitchell Hurwitz is supposed to have come up with some great idea to get them all back together after all these years. Many of the cast members have claimed that the funding is set and so on. Yet… I don’t think there has been any information since last year. I try not to think about it.

  3. @frank-ha, it’s supposed to be a joke! okay, whew, that’s a real intricate concept, even for that show. but, as you said, I am aware of the ‘house of lords’ and ‘house of commons’-but had no concept what they meant in relation to the overall number of ‘houses of parliament’.

    yes, it’s true. the show is pretty dependent upon the viewer knowing ‘whats going on’, for anything more than just a basic understanding of an episode. still, it seemed (to me anyway) Fox moved it’s time slot *so* much, it made it extremely difficult for even ‘die-hard’ fans, to catch the latest episodes? but, it’s difficult to pick it up in the middle. so, I’m sure Cross was right, ultimately that was probably the show’s undoing?

    huh, what is ‘The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra"? I’ve never heard of that before.

    right, I heard about the AD movie since about the end of the last season? but, relatively recent (maybe the beginning of this year), I heard they shot something for cable. however, I’m completely unable to locate where the hell I got that info from, and can’t seem to find anything now? so, like you, I’m gonna just try not to think about this.

  4. @karl – I think the way to have promoted AD would be to have had a special premier where they did a big push with 4 shows in a row. I think that might have done it. Another issue may have been the title sequence, "Now the story of a wealthy family who lost everything and the one son who had no choice but to keep them all together." That’s not a good summary of the show. I think they could have done better.

    The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra? It is a modern low-budget film pretending to be a low-budget film from the 1950s. The trailer will give you a good idea:

    Dark and Stormy Night is also very good:

    They are both were hunting down. They also did The Lost Skeleton Returns Again, but I didn’t think as highly of it, but it still might be very good–I only saw it once. You know how it is.

  5. @frank-I never really thought much about AD’s opening ‘tag line’. probably, because I was *so* familiar with the series, its style and sense of humor, it always came across as deliberately self referential and ironic, to me. of course, I was already ‘in on’ the show and what they were doing, so if they, perhaps, put a little more thought into that, they might have avoided some people, in their ‘key demographic’, from changing the channel or turning it off. the 4 episode ‘push’ however, seems a clear fact! there seems no doubt that, if they’d done something like that, it could have only helped. they needed something to ‘hook’ people in and make them want to continue watching. but, i also think it was the kind of show a lot of people, especially the average viewer, would have a hard time ‘connecting’ with, regardless of its tactics?

    Ahhaha! that you for the ‘links’ to those trailers! I loved those clips! I never heard of either, "The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra" or "Dark and Stormy Night", and I’m usually pretty familiar with most pictures of that ilk. and they looked terrific and their attention to detail used in the old 50s B-horror films was *so* well re-created; that’s usually where films like that seem to ‘drop the ball’? you’ve definitely encouraged me to track down these flicks. . .as a side note: have you ever seen any Guy Maddin films? those trailers reminded me of certain areas of his work. Maddin’s more ‘academic’, ‘artsy’ and ‘intellectual’, but the aesthetics and playing with ‘classic & vintage film genres’ is in a similar vein.

    i know exactly what you mean-i was just talking with a ‘film friend’ of mine the other day (after watching ‘Prometheus’) and he asked me if I’d seen this 80s horror film called ‘Squirm’. i did see it, he didn’t, but he wanted to know if it was ‘any good’. I said to him, almost verbatim, what you wrote here. I said, "it was a pretty weak film, didn’t even have interesting ‘shock’ scenes. . ." which I ended by stating, "but, I haven’t seen it in quite a long time and watched it only once-it may be better than I remembered?" so yeah, I know how that goes.

  6. @karl – I think what they did on "The Odd Couple" (which would be unnecessary today) was great, "Can two divorced men share an apartment without driving each other crazy?" That opening lays down in 30 seconds what the play took a whole act to do. It is quite brilliant. Of course, in total, the opening is 1:15–that’s a lot of time when the modern sitcom is just over 20 minutes long. (It was 5 minutes longer back then!)

    I agree that AD would most likely appeal to a niche market. But I would have said the same thing of Seinfeld.

    Yeah, Larry Blamire has clearly studied his Ed Wood. Of course, we see not only the string on the skeleton, but also the connections. What’s more impressive is the rocket, which is exactly the kind of thing you would see–think of the cockpit in Plan 9.

    I’m not familiar with Guy Maddin, but I see a number of his films on Netflix, so I will check him out. It is interesting to compare artists from Canada to artists from the US. In general, I think Canada makes it a lot easier to be an artist when you aren’t pathologically driven to be a star. But I’ll leave that to another time.

    Orthogonal to your last comment, I’ve noticed that most of the people I know who work in the industry in Hollywood don’t see that many films, but they know about everything. I think this speaks very poorly of Hollywood. It seems to indicate that they look at film as just commodities that they can make a buck off. With all due respect to their impressive talents… (Really.)

  7. @karl – PS: I don’t mean to be ragging on Ed Wood above. I think rather highly of him. His films were always interesting. Wood was the first reason (I’ve since developed more) that I hate Michael Medved. Certainly anyone can see that Plan 9 is a far better film than Robot Monster, which for all of its silliness is very hard to watch. Or "Manos": The Hands of Fate.

    Of course, my opinion is that anyone who can complete any film on a shoestring deserves respect. I see $100 million films all the time that show no more imagination or insight. Think: almost any Marvel movie.

  8. @karl – PPS: And I don’t like the fetishisation of bad films. Too much of it is follow the leader. A good example of this is Glen or Glenda which is bizarre but certainly not bad. In fact, I think I could make the argument that it is great. No one ever says Russ Meyer’s films are bad, because no one thinks it’s weird to like big breasts. But they do think that cross dressing is weird, so Glen or Glenda must be bad. But this attitude is exactly what makes it good. Regardless, most people think Plan 9 (for example) is bad because other people tell them it is bad. There is a philosophical question at the core of Plan 9 that is much more important what is in any other movie of that time.

    And I have nothing against Meyers. Many of his films are very good, although I have problems with *Beyond the Valley of the Dolls*. However, that period wasn’t bad; *Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!* only gets better with age. (I have a special attachment for *Eve and the Handyman*, perhaps only because it shows how much you can do with so little.)

  9. @frank-weird, for some reason when you wrote out the ‘opening line’ to AD, all I could think of was ‘The Odd Couple’s line. I often look at the ‘run times’ of TV shows from the past and it’s astonishing how much advertisements have sucked up time.

    Yeah, Seinfeld was partially ‘niche’ market, in fact it *didn’t* do well when it first came out either-they gave that show some chances, but also it was a non-sequential show that didn’t depend on knowing what happened the episode before, so it was perfect for syndication. The same can’t be said of AD.

    Oh, I’ve always liked (what other people considered to be) ‘bad movies’. The funny thing is, I never thought of them as bad. Or I should say, if I think a movie’s bad, I won’t say ‘I like it’. Not just because it’s cool, or ‘ironic’, I really despise that.

    I always liked Ed Wood myself, not everything he did, but certainly a number of them. Again, it’s because I genuinely find something interesting about them. For me, there always has to be ‘something’ in a movie that elicits a response. I liked Glen or Glenda for, mainly, the reason that you could tell he was ‘passionate’ about what he was making. And really, how many ‘mainstream movies’ can that be said of?

    I always *loved* really *loved* Russ Meyer. Oddly enough, I’m no ‘breast man’-I really couldn’t care less. . .no, what I liked about Meyer is two things: one, like Wood, he’s clearly making films that he *loves* and is obsessed with (breasts), and two, he is a near perfect ‘craftsman’ of the film arts. Seriously, I think he could have made a film of two mountain peaks, and made it interesting? I actually had an occasion to meet Russ Meyer once. It was for an anniversary of "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (oddly enough, and I’m not just saying this-it’s *not* my favorite film by him by a long shot, but it’s the one most people seem so easily to enjoy?) and after the show, we were able to go out to a ‘club’ and talk with Meyer. I went with my girlfriend at the time, who happened to be rather ‘well endowed’; and, ha, I honestly think the only reason he talked with me was so he could stare at her breasts? Anyway, he was a really nice, down to earth (slightly ‘randy’) old guy, I asked him a lot about ‘films’ and filmmaking, he was humble (he *loved* old films though, Humphrey Bogart, John Wayne. . .), he’d just say that he ‘made movies how they told me to make ’em during the war’, he was kinda ‘cagey’-then he told me, all you need to do to make a movie is: ‘establishing shot, long shot, medium shot and close-ups’-I think there was more to his craft than that? but he seemed to like the idea that he was a ‘regular guy’ and didn’t really talk about his work? In addition, I remember asking him about his use of ‘montage’ editing, because that was something I always enjoyed about his films, they looked like a Sergei Eisenstein film on acid, shot for stag films! Well, he told me that he shot that way because he only had the money to use ‘strippers’ and they could never act, so he had to make sure he had enough ‘edits’ so he could do multiple ‘over-dubs’. This way the gals got their lines just right. Which, now that I think of it, reminds me of what Welles was saying-minus ‘strippers’? There’s probably some connection there? Oh, you mentioned Eve and the Handyman, I love that era too, and for similar reasons. He made those films (in fact most of his films up ’til ‘BVD’-even most of this films after ‘BVD’ too) with a *very* limited crew. I remember he was shooting his last film; "The Breast of Russ Meyer" (never completed) with only himself and an old Army buddy-that’s it, and he could do that! He really didn’t need many people to make a movie, he knew how to do almost everything on a film. He knew a lot about the craft. And that’s another thing you don’t see much of these days!

    Oh, I know what you mean about people in Hollywood not watching films. I don’t really know many people ‘in Hollywood’, but I found the exact same thing with people who ‘work for film’ and people who are ‘into films’ and with these younger kids that are currently going to ‘film schools’. None of them really know anything about movies, definitely *not* before a certain period, and they don’t even seem interested? They’re very uninformed in general, they know very little about the actual ‘craft’ of filmmaking, they’re *all* consumed with money/fame/notoriety (it reminds me of how people used to say, "I’m gonna write the ‘great American novel’-only now it’s "I’m gonna make the great American movie!"). Money seems to be the ‘big draw’ in film? It’s kinda sad.

  10. P.S.
    Oh, I don’t want to forget Guy Maddin either. I wouldn’t say that all of his films are good, not at all. In fact there are a number of his films I’m not too keen of. But I appreciate what he tries to do. I like that someone like him is out there and doing what he does, but he’s not one of my favorite filmmakers. I thought I was gonna like him a lot more than I ended up actually liking him. However, I totally agree with what you said about Canadian filmmakers/artists. I think the same is true in other countries as well? I have a cousin from France, and they just accept someone as an ‘artist’ and understand that they probably won’t make a lot of money which is almost a badge of honor, but it’s all fine to them-because they’re ‘artists’-and are held in high regard. It’s a very different culture and different thought process, I didn’t even really understand what she was saying about it completely myself, it clashes very much with the American culture: ‘money’, ‘how much do you make’ and ‘what are you earning’? There they seem to respect intelligence and creativity a lot more than we do?

  11. @karl – Great Russ Meyer story! I had a friend (who disappeared years ago with my CP16-R) who sold movie stuff: posters, prints, etc. He met with Meyer right before he died. He sounded charming in a crusty way. I remember hearing that he claimed to be hung like a horse and that he could still fuck like a kid. From anyone else, I would probably not find it charming. But it sounds right after hearing your experience.

    I think most great filmmakers approach the craft pretty simply. Eisenstein may be an exception. But Griffith always claimed to just be solving individual problems, and no one is more responsible for modern film syntax than he is. (To bad he was a bigot.) I think the same thing could be said of Welles or Ford. In general, I think kids who want to make movies should just make movies. However, I think film school is good if you want a job in the industry. I’m not sure that is the best thing for someone who wants to actually make films. Back up plans have a habit of becoming primary plans, especially when they pay well.

    Speaking of good filmmakers, I watched *Down By Law* last night for the first time since it was in the theaters. What a gorgeous film. And I love how Jarmusch takes his time with every scene. I’m going to have to do a run with him, because I haven’t seen anything since *Dead Man* (which I saw again recently, and is better than I remember).

  12. @frank-ha, yeah RM was a bit of a ‘braggart’ and seemed ‘inspired’ to be more so, for the benefit of my girlfriend (then again, he probably wouldn’t have talked to me as long as he did if she wasn’t there?). This was a couple years before he died. I could tell he was ‘in decline’-his mind didn’t seem to operate as ‘sharply’ as I remember hearing him once, it was kinda sad? Ha, he didn’t mention his ‘size’ to me, but I’m not surprised that he would, he was a big guy all around: big hands, big head, a six footer, so he could be right? Somehow, I doubt he was ‘like a kid’ in the sack at the time, but who knows? I remember he stared at my girlfriend’s ‘rack’ the entire time (he seemed a bit lascivious), but all things considered, I found him to be a down to earth, charming guy. In fact he seemed to almost ‘overly polite’, didn’t say anything too ‘randy’ while my girlfriend was present, he had this ‘old school’ mentality like-‘ya don’t talk that way around girls’? That type of attitude. Didn’t stop him from staring. It was a pleasure meeting him regardless. I wish I had a chance to meet him before he died, like your friend-I’d sure like to have talked to him some more.

    Oh, wow you had the CP-16R? That’s really great camera! Damn, I have the same problem, a number of my friends have ‘borrowed’ equipment, books, CDs, movies and all manner of ‘stuff’ and I’ve never seen it again-I hate that!

    Well, I think Eisenstein made things *about* his films more complicated than they need be? But I don’t think his approach was any more complicated than the other directors we’re talking about? I agree, without a doubt, Griffith was the master! Without him, there’s no question we wouldn’t have the kind of structure and ‘language’ we’ve come to know. He basically created ‘film’ as the art form we know today. Yeah, he was also a racist, but then, I’m sure he wasn’t alone? It’s just that no one else made a movie where the KKK were the heroes, ha!? Again, I don’t tend to judge filmmakers by their personal lives, no matter how heinous. I’d watch a film made by a serial killer!

    I agree, I don’t think anyone *needs* to go to film school. The only reason, I can think, to go to a film school (besides what you mentioned already-to work in the industry) is to learn the ‘craft’ of film making. However, it really shouldn’t take a competent teacher all that long to teach someone that? The other part of the equation is, you should love films and watch a lot of them and you don’t need a film school to do that. If you love films it’s no problem at all. However, what I see today, at ‘film schools’ are kids trying to make (what appear to be, but clearly are not) ‘big budgeted Hollywood blockbusters’-AND they can’t "tell a story" to save their life!. They jump right in and try to make something clearly out of their ‘range’, instead of starting small. One actor maybe? No dialog? One location? Whatever, I think it best to start small and work up to bigger, more ‘advanced’ films? Mainly, they don’t seem to care about films in general-they like some new films-but find most ‘older films’ (and by ‘older’ I mean pre-1980!) boring! How can you learn anything that way? I noticed most are little businessmen nowadays anyway, so don’t really care about ‘learning how to make a film’. . .Ha, back up plans *do* have a habit of becoming primary plans, don’t they? Very true!

    I haven’t seen "Down by Law" or "Stranger than Paradise" in a really long time, I’d like to see them again. . .I’m always torn between films that move quickly (the way Welles and Meyer’s works do) and films that take their time and move slowly. I think it’s partly a matter of personal taste and also what works best for the picture? Because I’ve seen both techniques done *really* badly. Lately it’s, of course, really ‘popular’ to make your movie move faster than people can even watch-so I’d like to see more films slow down and take their time. When I first saw "Dead Man", I hated it. Then when I saw it again, I really liked it. Then, I heard a story involving Jarmusch and the script for that film-basically that he’d stolen the script (not sure how much or to what extent exactly?) from Rudy Wurlitzer’s "The Drop Edge of Yonder"; in fact Jarmusch’s old friend and filmmaker Alex Cox refuses to talk to him, to this day, over the matter. So, I don’t know? I still like "Dead Man". But I’m curious to read (also, what makes it more plausible is that Wurlitzer wrote a script based on the book, which was being ‘passed around’ to filmmakers in the late 80s) just out of curiosity, what it’s like. Oddly enough, I also heard (just recently) that Jarmusch ran into a similar problem with "Broken Flowers" (his latest film, I think?)he was apparently in litigation w/a screenwriter who claimed he’d stolen his script-so, I don’t know what’s going on with him? But, who knows for certain, these things get really ‘murky’.

  13. @karl – I think RM was kind of sweet in his way. It makes sense that he would behave in front of your girlfriend. His movies are very respectful of women–especially compared to other "girly" films of the time. There was no leering. In fact, another nice thing about Eve+Handiman is that it is this buxom girl spying on a guy who looks a lot like R. Crumb. In fact, I had always assumed that RM must look like that. I had no idea what he looked like until a few years ago when I looked at Wikipedia. Regardless, I can’t help but think that Crumb is a RM fan.

    In my article on *Miller’s Crossing*, I specifically mentioned my friend’s name, hoping he would see it and get in touch. I loaned it to him, moved, and after a couple of years when I was settled and he still hadn’t done anything, I tried to get it back. But he was never available. I know one of the batteries busted and cosmetically damaged the camera. I think he wanted to get it repaired. But I didn’t care; I just wanted the camera back. It was a very good camera. I shot one short film with it.

    I think I’m even more harsh than you are about film school. What Charlie says in *Adaptation* is a lot nicer than what I would say. People trying to teach screenwriter is pathetic. Yes, anyone can learn to write a cookie cutter film. In fact, look at just about any big budget film. You can time the acts with a stopwatch. And I like genre. Look, for example, at *The Third Man*–perfectly genre and perfectly, well, perfect.

    It helps to have a teacher or a book to learn, say, C++ because you can’t see the code in the programs you use. But you can learn DHTML in all of its glory by just looking at the code. The same goes for films. When I first started writing "theatrical essays" I sat down and plotted *F for Fake* minute by minute to figure out what he was doing. Obviously, I’m not Welles, but everything anyone can teach you about Welles you can learn as well by watching Welles. (That’s a lot of wells/Welles!)

    (I love teaching. But I don’t value traditional teaching. My teaching involves a lot of leading the students through their own discoveries. Things like lecturing I find personally boring and useless. But I will grant that there are other ways to look at it.)

    I will try to get *The Drop Edge of Yonder*. That is all news to me. I don’t think of him as much of a writer. The story of *Stranger than Paradise* is just silly. He has a good eye. Plagiarism always strikes me as strange. I have far more ideas than I can use and I think most people are that way. But I don’t claim to understand humanity, although I find it works best to think the best. But who knows when money and reputations are involved.

    As I recall, *Broken Flowers* is three films ago. I was kind of surprised too, because that is the last one I had heard about. I avoided BF because of Bill Murray, who I often like in films, but he still puts me off.

  14. @frank-you’re very perceptive. that’s exactly how RM presented himself. he seemed to have an almost ‘reverence’ for females? and you’re right re:his films, they are very rarely ‘degrading’ towards women. in fact, most of his films have the women as the ‘smart, tough and strong’ lead characters, while most of his male ‘supporting’ characters are ‘weak, dumb and kinda wimpy (sometimes)". I think a lot of people assume that his films are misogynistic, just because of the waters his films swim in?

    Ya know, I thought the same thing. R. Crumb must dig RM’s films? Apparently, according to an interview I read on Crumb, he liked his films well enough ( though he seemed to respect him more for making films about-what he ‘really’ loved’, kinda how Crumb makes his comics) but in the interview he said there weren’t enough ‘big butts’ highlighted in his films, ha!

    You think you’re more harsh than I am on Film School? Maybe? All I know is that I am always getting into trouble for talking about how ‘useless’ i think film school is. whenever I hear somebody wants to go to ‘film school’, I sort of assume they’re doing it because it’s the only ‘safe’ way about it? Because this whole ‘culture’ is set up so that when you leave High School, you’re expected to go to College, therefore if you decide you’re not gonna go-and instead take the money you may have gotten for College and use it to make a movie, that’s really hard to do. So, I think a lot of people take the ‘safe way’ out, by going to a college or university ‘film school’, so this way it makes it seem like you’re ‘doing the right thing’. I still think it’s ridiculous, and that one would probably be better off taking the money spent at such places and putting it towards making an actual film?

    My sister’s a teacher, and you’re right, the best way to teach kids (according to her as well, I tried teaching art/drawing but was terrible) is to lead the kid to the answers, as you say. I also know that method worked best for me. But I’m also the type of person who doesn’t do well with ‘schedules’ and ‘lesson plans’, I tend to learn better on my own.

    I remember being told, by a professional camera guy, that that particular camera is one of the best 16mms to own. It’s quiet and relatively light-so, yeah if I were you I’d wanna get that back too. Were you able to transfer your film to tape? just curious.

    I don’t know what the ‘deal is’ with Jarmusch and all this ‘plagiarism’ either? I only found out about these instances relatively recently myself. I think I heard about the Rudy Wurlitzer/Dead Man thing listening to Alex Cox’s commentary for "Walker"? Then I think I was watching (some?) documentary on screenwriters, or something like that? And there was a section about how scripts are rampantly ‘stolen’ in Hollywood. . .something to that effect? One of the examples they gave was "Broken Flowers"-and I was a little surprised, because it wasn’t that long ago I heard about "Dead Man". I’d like to read "Drop Edge of Yonder" myself, I read his book "Nog"-which was interesting, very 60s era, stream of consciousness, kind of ‘road story’. I liked his script for "Two Lane Black-Top" (though, everyone I know hates that film), he also wrote the scripts for "Walker" (already mentioned) and "Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid" for Sam Peckinpah.

    I saw "Broken Flowers". I thought it was ‘okay’-at best. It was kind of a meandering sort of plot, it had bits and pieces that were interesting; but it was like the parts never seemed to connect and come together as a whole? Wow, "Broken Flowers" was 3 films ago? I never would have known-sincerely. I have to go look up and see what he’s made since then?

  15. @karl – I’m not sure why most people want to make films. There are only two reasons I can think of and they don’t relate to most people: tell stories or capture light. You aren’t going to make must progress on this by being 2nd AD on a film. That’s not to put down ADs or anything. I really like collaborating with creative people. But being one of the 100s of technical support staff on a film is hardly telling stories. (Also, I don’t understand why any actor would want to work on film–accept for the money.) Anyway, if people want to go to film school knowing that they will become a cog in a very big machine, it’s all good.

    Another issue is that a lot of places people didn’t have access to the tools of film making. Now with video, that’s not so much true.

    The CP-16 *was* quiet, but I wouldn’t exactly call it light. My filming was 15+ years ago. We did, at one point project it and video tape that. It worked rather well. But the film wasn’t done and I have no idea where the clip is anyway. The last time I saw the film, I was boxing it up with all the unused positives and the sound and shipping it to the star. His name was something like Derek Merck. But like many things in my life, he’s gotten away from me, which is too bad because as I recall, he was a big Don Quixote fan.

    You know, I seem to remember some allegations of plagiarism on *Broken Flowers*. It wouldn’t surprise me that there is a lot of plagiarism in Hollywood. The way they go through screenwriters is offensive. So is the way the WGA scores films. Anyway, they don’t respect the script as art form, and maybe they’re right. As it is, I think we are seeing a lot better writing on TV, but then TV is considered a writers’ form. Even I have written a bizarre TV show that will never get produced (although I’m hoping I can get some kids at Public Access interested, but that’s as far as it ever might go).

  16. @frank-you make an astute observation. the *only* reason I was interested in making films was to: ‘tell stories’. first off, I knew pretty fast I was uninterested in ‘working my way up’ in Hollywood, the ‘physical’ making of a movie doesn’t interest me (I turned down offers to work in Hollywood because, I worked as a ‘PA’ on some films & music videos in Manhattan-it held as much interest to me as working in steel mill), and making films on your own presents a whole set of other obstacles-the amount of money, the resources, getting enough people to help get your film made-I think, ‘attempting’ to make films as many times as I have and failing at it, just made me frustrated with the process?

    I never understood people who wanted to be ‘screenwriters’ for Hollywood. I couldn’t fathom spending that amount of time writing a script, only to send it to a studio that (at best) pays you a pittance, then does whatever they like with it. yet, I meet people who (somehow) believe it’s a ‘path to riches’-as if ‘writing scripts’ is *so* easy in the first place? and ultimately, don’t they care about what they write? maybe I’m too ‘sensitive’ about such things? maybe one should be more ‘detached’ from what they create? but I would have a hard time with that.

    I can sympathize with you, I had a full reel of 16mm shorts I made over 10 years ago. but, I may have lost it in my ‘vagabond travels’ through out that time? I also shot a mini-feature on 16mm negative. I couldn’t hold onto the negatives at the time (moving again), so I had a friend hold it for me. shortly, he moved to San Francisco, where he took my footage (he was in the ‘starring role’) edited it and called it his own film-I thought it was a bit odd, but it was for ‘film school’, so I didn’t really care, I just kept asking if I could get the negatives back? well, I still haven’t. perhaps if i thought it was a ‘lost gem’, i’d still be pursuing it? but it’s not.

    I actually did see the next film Jarmusch made "The Limits of Control"-I’d forgotten all about it and, I think, I mixed certain scenes from it with "Broken Flowers"? It’s not a bad movie, as I can recall, but again I remember having problems with it. I remember feeling a similar feeling of: ‘the parts do not form a complete whole’.

    yup, writers certainly aren’t given much credence in film. I think that’s why they produce such mediocre to bad scripts? if an ‘art’ isn’t appreciated, why put effort into the act? there are ‘well known’ screenwriters, but almost all of them end up becoming directors. there aren’t many ‘Paddy Chayefsky-s or Rod Serling-s’ these days, are there? it seems ‘intellectualism’ is put down, scoffed at, or damned with faint praise nowadays anyway? most people don’t seem the least bit interested in ‘writers’, ‘thinkers’ or ‘artists’? unless they’ve already become ‘famous’ or ‘successful’ in their field. I was watching episodes of the Dick Cavett Show and bits of William Buckley’s "Firing Line" (both on YouTube, of course) and I was astonished at how many authors, intellectuals and artists appeared on them. which means, at one point, the ‘average’ TV viewer was interested in, and knew about these people and things. that blows my mind, especially thinking what’s on ‘talk shows’ now. it’s sad that you’d *never* see people of that caliber on TV today!

    how *do* the WGA ‘score’ films? I honestly don’t know about that.

    Well, I hope you *are* able to get your television program produced. don’t be too cynical about it, you’d be surprised just how ‘bad’ most people’s ideas really are these days-unfortunately, most of them also aren’t aware their ideas are bad, I mean pitifully bad. so, good ideas can often be hard to find to people who work in the world of film and TV these days. so, don’t be too skeptical. . .keep me posted, sincerely, sounds like it could be an interesting project.

  17. @karl – As much as I hate film as commodity, I have to admit that the people doing it do it well. What I’ve noticed (and you seem to imply) is that when Hollywood tries to do something "edgy" (whatever) they particularly suck. Yet when people throw stuff together themselves they succeed surprisingly well. I think it is that the pros in Hollywood poison these kind of projects. Generally, I find public access a lot better than anything else on cable. In Portland, there was a regular PA show called, "The Chess Show" where people called in to play chess against their chess "expert." Meanwhile, the rest of the show was just madness. It is unlike anything I’ve ever seen. But even when it is someone from John Birch ranting or whatever, I like it because it’s real. The people really believe what they are saying and that is compelling. (Contrast this to "reality" shows where people are as artificial as can be.)

    I’ve been away from home the last two days and the only thing I’ve been able to work on is the second episode of my show. I think I do it because I like spending time with those characters. It’s all a lot of fun.

    I don’t know how WGA scores film either. I do know their main thing is structure. If you really want screen credit for a film, break the structure and fix it in a unique way. But the way most movies are made today, I would think there are really only two parts anymore: dialog and action sequences. And the action sequences are mostly created by technical groups. Often they are all second unit stuff.

    The thing about writing a script is all you have is your internal visualization of it. You can’t even have people read it, because most people don’t know how to read a script. And I wouldn’t dare show it to my technical friends, because I KNOW they won’t get it. Anyway, I’ve found them to be very bad at "seeing" a script.

    Hope springs eternal. And it’s so cozy in my room…

  18. PS: I want to clarify that my major problem with modern film making is that such a large percentage of it goes after exactly the same audience. I have no delusions about the size of my potential audience. However, as the technology expands to allow for far more focused entertainment, we just get more and more least common denominator entertainment. I do not believe that "Dancing with the Stars" and "Pawn Stars" are really what most people want to watch. And that’s TV! It is so much worse with feature films. And when they try to get off script, as say with "Stella," they can’t budget it right for the smallness of the audience.

    Consider MST3K. In an absolute sense, it was not a very good show. It was very uneven and the hosted segments were a mess. And yet, it is a classic because of how good it is relative to everything else. It was made on a shoestring with a bunch of friends. And it was only picked up because the new Comedy Central needed to fill space and a 2 hour show was almost too good to be true. It would never be picked up today. My question is why? Why can’t there be 24 episode seasons of a show with a total budget of a million dollars? Why is there so little diversity in the field? If someone does something on a shoestring, it is bought and produced for lots of money with all the decisions that guarantee a big enough audience to justify the budget.

    And with ad revenue plummeting, the internet is not the solution.

    Yes, I am asking for the impossible.

    • Your comment is exactly what I was talking about. Did you just read the first paragraph and think I believe that there are 3 houses of Congress? Or were you trying to take my satire one step further? It doesn’t matter. Satire is dead. And it’s a good thing. In this time of cynicism, I welcome anything that simply is what it claims to be. What, in this day, is more radical than a person coming out on a stage and telling you about what they really think and feel? No pretense. Nothing but honesty. What courage it takes to open oneself to ridicule for the sin of having real, earnest opinions? How easy it is to pretend that nothing is real or important to you. People liked Seinfeld, but I think it was the most cowardly comedy ever created. I want art that is genuine and not afraid to be called sentimental. I am sick of easy comedy. And look at what we are teaching our children: nothing matters. But if nothing matters, we don’t matter. And what is the point?

      It is funny that most Americans know there aren’t 7 houses of Parliament but really aren’t sure if there are three. But there’s nothing eternal about it. It doesn’t matter. It’s comedy for a cynical world — one I really don’t want to live in.

      • It’s just a Twitter-style “sick burn,” which is what people want these days. The immediate feedback of “ooh, they read me!”

        I’m guilty of it myself. Not in making snarky putdowns of others, but in becoming addicted to feedback. It’s why I can’t write anymore. If I write something I like and it gets no feedback, I hate it. If I write something I like and it gets immediate feedback, I reconsider it as shallow and I hate it.

        The anger about people reacting snarkily to earnest writing, I completely understand. I see work, all the time, that I know for a fact took days to compose and somebody makes a snarky remark. Like that’s going to encourage a writer to work harder and get better? If your concern is to read better writing, engage the author on what they’re aiming to say. Or just try writing yourself, and see how easy it is.

        Earnest writing is in short supply, these days. But I did get a jolt watching the B.B. Thanksgiving episode revealing Teddy as a hoarder with family strife issues. That kinda choked me up a little.

        • I have no idea about B.B. Thanksgiving.

          But this is my advice: if you want to be a good writer, you must embrace the abyss. That means writing for yourself and only for yourself. That doesn’t apply to the stuff I write here. But I reached a point in my playwriting some time ago where I knew that all I had to do was write exactly what I wanted to see. And the amount I wrote went way up and I started writing stuff that wasn’t just commerce. It’s something that may never be liked by anyone or something that will make me a star. But none of that matters because I’ve created work that I love. And that’s all that matters. Everyone else has nothing to say of value. (I’m noticed that long ago too: when people give you advice, it’s always stuff you already know. Very much like this advice: embrace the abyss.

          • The BB episode was just one that hit me hard. The show veers between harmlessly gentle and deeply profound; the Teddy Thanksgiving episode had me bawling. I guess I’m not a manly man?

            As for writing, fuck that shit. I’m into content management now, or whatever garbage-y title I can muster. Eventually, some hipster HR person will fall for it.

  19. Couldn’t be bothered to read more than 2 comments which are 6 years old but technically there are 3 tiers of British parliament, commons, lords and the sovereignty. Google it.

    Anyway love AD more than most things in the world

    • I won’t. I’ll just ask Elizabeth. But thanks for bringing it to my attention! And I totally agree about AD, but was very disappointed in Season 4. (Not that it still wasn’t good.)

    • I wanted to know if you were a nutcase or a pedant, so I had contributor, anglophile, and English expert Elizabeth. She responded, “The sovereign as a third part of parliament? Well, if one insists. But it is typically considered a bicameral system since the monarch’s position is similar to a president.” So you are a pedant.

      That’s not an insult. So am I. And so are many of the people who hang out here. I hope you come back!

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