Tag Archives: the Replacements

Upcoming Screenings

Upcoming screenings of COLOR ME OBSESSED, A FILM ABOUT THE REPLACEMENTS:

June 20th – Star Theatre, Portland, OR

June 23rd – Cafe Cinema, Virginia Beach, VA

July 5th – CBGB Fest, NYC

July 15th/16th – Hollywood Dormont, Pittsburgh, PA

July 23rd thru 29th – Cinefest Film Theatre, Atlanta, GA

July 27th – Cafe Nine, New Haven, CT

July 28th – Indie West Fest, Ventura, CA

Follow the film’s Facebook page for details and additional screenings.

Upcoming screenings of WHAT DID YOU EXPECT? THE ARCHERS OF LOAF LIVE AT CAT’S CRADLE:

June 15th – NXNE Festival, Toronto, Canada (World Premiere)

June 18th – Sled Island Festival, Calgary, Canada

July 5th – CBGB Fest, NYC (US Premiere)

July 7th – Cat’s Cradle, Chapel Hill, NC

Follow the film’s Facebook page for details and additional screenings.

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Filed under archers of loaf, Color Me Obsessed, documentaries, rockumentary, the replacements

The Black & White Rules of Indie Filmmaking – part 6

6. Your Audience

When people ask me who I make my films for, my answer is “me.” I make my films for myself. I know people who find this answer obnoxious, or flat out rude, or who don’t believe me. But you CANNOT create a work of art to make someone else happy. You will fail. Which is why so many Hollywood films suck.

You are your own audience of one. Does your film make you laugh, or cry? Does it move you in the way you intended it to? Are you completely proud of it? Is it what you forever want to be known for? Are you happy to sign your name to it? Would you defend it to the death as you would your child? If you can answer yes to most, if not all, of these questions, then you don’t have to worry about making your film for an audience, because the audience will find you.

Great and passionate art always rises to the top of the heap. Will everyone like your film? Absolutely not. You don’t want everyone to like your film. Because if everyone does, it’s most likely commercial crap. In fact you want some people to love it unconditionally, and some to detest it more than any film they’ve ever seen. Then you know you’ve got something special. What you certainly don’t want is people saying, “it was okay.” You want an audience to be as passionate about your film (either love or hate) as you were about making it.

In my first documentary, COLOR ME OBSESSED, A FILM ABOUT THE REPLACEMENTS, there’s an interviewee named Robert Voedisch who really polarizes many of the men in the audience. Not the women. The women seem to adore him. But he makes some men angry. Especially the more macho types. And I finally realized why. He so painfully reminds them of the geeky kid they were at fourteen, their ego now puts up a wall. He makes them uncomfortable. He makes them squirm. In Voedisch, who so blissfully lays himself emotionally naked in the film, they see who they once were, and they never want to return there. Voedisch unleashes their deep hidden secret that their macho self was once a geeky kid who hid in his room and played rock and roll records because he was too scared to talk to girls.

Another moment that I truly love in COLOR ME OBSESSED is Bil Mac’s pause. I ask the simple question: “What’s your favorite Replacements song?” He answers “Go,” and then says nothing else. I hold on his look of absolute conviction for six seconds in the film. This pause so bothered everyone who worked on the film: my closest friends, the people whose opinions I trusted and valued most. The pause had to go. Well, so I wouldn’t have to hear about it endlessly as we all discussed the various cuts of the film — what worked, what was repetitive, what was out-of-sync — I cut away at the pause until it barely existed. By the last time we all watched the film in preparation for the sound mix, looking for typos, weird cuts, anything wrong, it was down to about 24 frames. One second. But that was because I knew, the day before the sound mix, when even my assistant editor Sarah Hajtol was finally given a day off, I’d be putting the pause back in all its six second glory. In my gut it worked. It belonged. After the rapid fire pace of the first twenty minutes of the film, it was a breather. And it stands as one of my favorite moments of the film. The pause bring an air of importance to Bil’s response. It’s as if I were asking the Pope if he believed in God. That’s what the pause does. How can we not believe in The Replacements after that pause?

What I’m saying is: Find the Voedisch in your film. Find the big pause, and all the little ones. Find the elements that drives your film forward. And don’t worry if they pisses the hell out of some people. If you know in your gut they’re right, that they fit, then follow your gut. YOU, as director, are signing your name to this film. NO ONE ELSE.

Some audience members will fall in love, other will squirm uncomfortably, and you will have done your job as an artist.

Next up: Be Organized!

My filmography.

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The making of COLOR ME OBSESSED – part 31 (I NEVER WANTED MUSIC!)

A perfectly over-rated example of the rock doc genre is the Ramones flick END OF THE CENTURY. Yes, it’s better that the average VH1 special. But not by that much. In every frame you know that Joey is already passed onto the other side. Had the filmmaker begun the project two years earlier, I wouldn’t be making this criticism. But the film feels wrong to me. As do most rock docs made after a band is longer with us (for whatever reason). Whether that band be X, the Beatles, or anyone in between. Something is missing.

Which is why I never (“NEVER!” I screamed) wanted for a moment to give my favorite band of all time such treatment. I truly believe that any “traditional” doc on The Replacements will play like one of these VH1 specials. So, when the opportunity to make this film fell into my lap, I knew I had to come up with something as daring, as unique as my subject. That fuck-you to tradition that The Replacements so deserved.

I knew some would have issue with my approach. That, like the band at so many junctures in their career, I risked falling flat on my face. But, and anyone who knows my career knows this to be true, is was a risk I was more than willing to take.

What probably surprises me most is that some people insist I’m lying. That I couldn’t afford the rights to the Mats music. I have to think those people just can’t comprehend risk taking, or doing something different. They’re so caught up in tradition, they see the world through blinders and are unable to accept originality. How they ever became Mats fans is beyond me. Perhaps they grew jaded and crusty as they got old. Or perhaps they’re just jealous that it worked. As I know it does. As the dozens of IMDB reviews from people who’s seen the film at festivals have confirmed. Many of whom who entered with their arms folded against my no-music nuttiness, only to leave with a satisfied grin plastered to their face. Originality can do that. It can make you feel alive again. (If you give it a chance.) Sort of like The Replacements did the first time we all heard them.

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Filed under directing, documentaries, filmmaking, independent film, indie rock, rock n roll, rockumentary, the replacements

The making of COLOR ME OBSESSED – part 30

When CMO took on a life of its own, and honestly pushed every other project (ONE NIGHT STAND, and my new novel NOT SO PRETTY especially) aside, I started over-dosing on rock documentaries, or rockumentaries, if you will. There were many that I love:

I AM TRYING TO BREAK YOUR HEART, A FILM ABOUT WILCO is amazing because filmmaker Sam Jones is the luckiest sonofabitch on the planet. Not only did he get to make a doc on Wilco, he witnessed them recording one of their most acclaimed albums, the firing of one of their founding members, them being dropped by their label, then being resigned by another label (and payed three times the advance) owned by the same parent company. Seriously, there’s so much amazing conflict that you half expect Jeff Tweedy to discover a cure for cancer during the recording of Heavy Metal Drummer. Shot in glorious black and white, the film is perfect in almost every aspect. I love this movie.

THE DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON is another masterpiece. And why? Because filmmaker Jeff Feuerzeig had access to Johnston’s life in such extreme detail, nothing was missing. How could it be, Johnston recorded seemingly his every thought. This is of course more than a rock doc, it’s about mental illness and the power of art. It is a brilliant piece of filmmaking.

ANVIL: THE STORY OF ANVIL is yet another. It’s the real life SPINAL TAP, a true story of never letting go of the rock dream…no matter what. And it even has sort of a happy ending.

I bring up these three films for a reason: the access the filmmakers had to the band/musicians in question. They were all present, offering almost disturbing insight into their creative prosesses. These to me are the only sort of rock docs that work. Otherwise, the films play like a VH1 Where-Are-They-Now? Special. And not that there’s anything wrong with those specials. They’re fine for what they are: a fun look back at a band/musician we loved. But that’s all they are. They are NOT, nor will they ever be, FILMS.

Yes, children “FILM” is a sacred word.

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The making of COLOR ME OBSESSED – part 29

After watching the film through, Matt and I compare notes…

I should point out first that he began the day telling me he found three albums from The Replacements that I’d given him at the end of the FWB mix. “Let It Be, Tim, and Pleased To Meet Me?” I venture. He replies in the affirmative. And that he began playing them non-stop since working on the film. I promise him that I’ll complete his collection once we’re done.

Back to mix notes: they’re pretty much the same. A few spots are driving us crazy. And honestly I won’t mention them because I think that Matt and the HM3K did such and amazing job of smoothing them out, that Matt and I (and the HM3K) are really the only two people (and machine) in the world who would ever know what they were.

Volumes are adjusted in a few spots. One word playing just a little too loud. A few a little too soft. The background feedback and noise (from Dean Falcone) likewise a little too loud in spots, too quiet in others, and let’s swap out a few of the non-tunings with better choices from the tracks I brought with me.

By around 2 PM the tweaking is over. There’s nothing more left to do, except output the film, which is done in real time. So, I get to watch it again. Proud at what we’ve done. Hell, what Matt and the HM3K have done. My sound no longer requires apologies.

The mix is transferred to the drives I brought with me. Two drives, so I have two separate copies. Yeah, I’m anal that way. (And yes, I hear people who know me quoting Woody Allen, “Anal is a nice word for what you are.”)

And we’re done. I thank Matt and Carmen and tell them about the next projects, PIZZA, A LOVE STORY, my doc on the history of Sally’s, Pepe’s, and Modern, the three greatest pizza (appiza!) joints in the galaxy, and parts two and three of my Alone Trilogy: the horror film ONE NIGHT STAND and the dark road drama BROKEN SIDE OF TIME. Which will see the darkness of DuArt’s mixing suite and the genius of Matt Gundy next is anyone’s guess.

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The making of COLOR ME OBSESSED – part 28

We have four days for the mix. Nothing by comparison to Hollywood comparisons. But then our entire film budget is probably the food budget for two weeks on your average Hollywood film. And from what Matt and Carmen tell me, so many micro-budget films nowadays are bypassing the mix altogether, because they just can’t afford it. So, our four days are a luxury by what should be our standards. But I firmly believe bad sound can kill a film, just as easily as boring cinematography, amateuristic acting, bad writing, etc and so on. It’s an essential part.

We’ll break the four days down as such…30 to 35 minutes or so on the first day, as Matt gets the rhythm of the film, and begins to better understand the horrors of my sound recording. Also, as he gets a perfect setting for an interview, say Husker Du drummer Grant Hart in the basement of 7th Street Entry, he can reuse the setting every time Grant pops back up on the screen.

The rest of the film, we’ll split between days two and three. And yes, we hit the 80 minute mark by the end of Wednesday, leaving us 43 minutes for Thursday, which is a breeze. Except for Dave Foley. (I begin to think he’s just fucking with us.)

Matt Gundy and Gorman Bechard at DuArt mixing COLOR ME OBSESSED

Day four begins as it has every time we’ve mixed. We watch the film from start to finish, to see what needs work, or polish, or a slight tweak. It’s also the first time I get to see the film projected on a screen from start to finish. So, notebook in hand, I wander down to the front, take a seat, and watch…

Damn, I love this film even more with good sound.

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The making of COLOR ME OBSESSED – part 27

(Another flight, another bunch of blogs ready to post.)

It’s probably only an hour or so into the first day of mixing when some of my bad sound, in this case the AC units behind Husker Du bassist Greg Norton and Twin/Tone co-founder Paul Stark, both recorded upstairs at First Avenue, proves too much for the board and its collection of filters and knobs. Time (already) to roll in the big guns. Matt says he’ll be right back, returning with what honestly looks like an old fashioned computer from the early 80s, sitting on a metal cart with wheels. He calls it the Cambridge something or other. That its main use is to remove the pops and hiss from the optical soundtracks of old films which the folks at DuArt are restoring. I immediately know anything with such a name will be no match for a bunch of Mats fanatics, so I re-christen the machine the HissMaster3000 (herein HM3K). And we’re ready to rock and roll.

The HM3K is an awesome little contraption. As we move through all 123 minutes of the film, Matt uses it, and the aforementioned knobs and filters to level everything out beautifully, yet allow each location, and there are about 125 different locations in the film, to have its own unique sound. It’s really not until we get to comedian Dave Foley that we really run into issues. The street sounds, in this case downtown Los Angeles, are ferocious. The struggle monumental. It’s like an ultimate fighting match. And as Matt so bluntly put it, “Dave Foley crashed the HM3K.”

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