In my ongoing campaign to get the proper cut of my film THE PLAGUE released, I agreed to do an interview for a gentleman by the name of Michael L. King. Michael hosts a series of Youtube film reviews. It’s a small and very personal series, but filled with charm and a love of film. Based on Michael’s sincerity and genuine interest, I agreed to be interviewed on camera for his “series”. In doing so, I was given an opportunity to talk in detail about my experiences writing and directing THE PLAGUE and the subsequent horror of having the film taken away from me in post-production and completely re-cut by the producers and distribution company. It is, in many ways –and for such a limited audience– the most comprehensive telling of this tale to date.
In truth, I fully expected Michael to edit down my answers to the most important/interesting elements, but he chose to post them in their entirety. So while I do repeat myself occasionally, I hope that the story I’m sharing here is somewhat interesting nonetheless. It’s certainly A tale of low-budget filmmaking in Hollywood that I’m sure mirrors many other very similar (if less articulated) experiences.
The purpose of my being so open about my experiences is twofold for me. One is to let folks know that the version of the film out there is not representative of the creative team involved (and that includes the outspoken cast and crew) and to hopefully get the proper cut released, but also to offer this cautionary tale to other filmmakers who may be able to avoid a similar situation. Or, for those whose films have already been re-cut beyond recognition by folks who didn’t care about the integrity of the film itself, to show that it is not only okay to speak up, but is, in fact, important if we hope to change the attitude in Hollywood that this kind of behavior is okay and comes without consequence. I’m not talking vengeance here, just letting the audience know that many of the films they’re seeing are not the films as they were intended, and that filmmakers need not be victims of these situations and should stand up for what they believe in and not be bullied into silence for fear that they’ll be ostracized or blacklisted. For me, if you believe in the film you’re making, then believe in it enough to stand up for it.
That’s the path I have chosen. Granted, it’s not for everyone, but I have personally found it to be extremely empowering and it has helped me define for myself exactly who I am as a filmmaker and what is most important to me. It is, like all things in life, an ongoing journey.
Here are links to all 7 parts of MLK’s (freakin’ epic) video interview: