This whole ordeal started because I wrote a script that I was passionate about. As I said in an earlier column, there are two things I could have done when people with money (studios) were not as passionate about my script. I could put the script in a drawer and move to a new idea or I could try to infect independent investors with my enthusiasm. I chose the latter. And nearly six months later, I’m glad I did. There were a few bumps in the road, such as no actor saying yes to the lead role. But I think the jackass (me) who took the role, aw shucks, did a decent job. Robert DeNiro in “Raging Bull”? Hell no. Ed Burns in “Brothers McMullen”? Maybe.
This weekend I spoke at an Entertainment Expo in Chicago and a guy said to me after the show that he respected my independent attitude. I never felt more fake when I said thanks. John Cassavetes, John Sayles. They’re independent. I’m independent only because I couldn’t get studio money. The movies that first captured my heart were Star Wars, “Raiders” and later “Diner” and “Ferris Bueller”. Those are the types of movies I’m hoping to make some day.
I only say this because, personally, I’m annoyed by directors and actors that pay lip service to independent filmmaking, but continue to make shit studio films. Like they’re fooling us by saying they’re artists, but actually they’re whores. That’s why I want to proclaim to the world right now. I am a whore. A chunky, blotchy, yellow toothed, red haired whore. So if some studio wants me to write or direct “Pluto Nash 2: Trip to Uranus”, I’m in. For the money. Don’t judge me.
But this is where the curveball slides out of the strike zone. I’m no good unless I’m passionate. There are a million better writers than me out there. Ones that could look at the last sentence and see I used an objective pronoun when I should have used a subjective pronoun. But with passion, I truly feel there are only a hundred or so better writers out there than I. For me to be passionate, it’s gotta be my way. When I finished writing “Doubting Riley”, I was told to drop the gay element from the story and concentrate on the camaraderie of the brothers and we could sell it for a decent chunk of change. Look, I’m not looking to be the grand marshal at the Gay and Lesbian parade next year. I want a decent chunk of change. But this story doesn’t work for me unless Bobby Riley is gay. I can’t change that. And no amount of money can influence my passion for writing. I really wish money could create passion, but it doesn’t for me.
Wow, I feel better now. That would have cost me $200 with a shrink or a handjob from my priest, but Chris Gore and the people at Film Threat let me vent for free. I appreciate the opportunity to do this column and I hope it was at the very least entertaining. I will check in from time to time to update how things are going with “Doubting Riley”. Supposedly, I should hear one way or another about Sundance in a few weeks and good or bad, I will check back in. Also, Gore has told me there is a forum set up where people can bitch slap me and also ask questions. I’ll be jumping on to retaliate or answer any questions. Thanks.
Discuss Pete Jones’ “Doubting Riley Diary” in Film Threat’s brand new BACK TALK section! Click here>>>

Posted on November 13, 2003 in Features by

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