Saturday, April 1, 2006
National Lampoon for hire by Christopher Folino
“So if you want our companies incredible resources of owning the college age market, the 18 to 24 age demographics you’ll need to provide us $500,000 to a million dollars and then we’ll consider distributing your movie.” Said the vice president of National Lampoon Pictures to me last night over the phone.
My mouth sort of froze between a look of “Are you fucking kidding me” with a hint of “hysterical laughter”, and a dash of “Is this an April Fools Joke?”
The man who reminded me of a mix between a used cars salesman and a student loan collector was dead serious.
He went on to say other classic and charming things like.
“I really didn’t get your movie, do you really think college kid’s will?” and my favorite “We are really not giving out the National Lampoon Presents title to just any movie, it’s mostly originally funded films that we believe in.”
Believe in? That’s a strong phrase when you recently have release such gems as
National Lampoon’s “Teed Off Too”
National Lampoon’s “Totally Baked: A Potumentary”
National Lampoon’s “Boobies”
National Lampoon’s “Cattle Call”
National Lampoon’s “Strip Poker”
National Lampoon’s “Pucked”
National Lampoon’s “Greek Games”
National Lampoon’s “Gold Diggers”
National Lampoon’s “Pledge This”
Each classics in their own minds I’m sure, however, “Gamers” wouldn’t even be called “National Lampoon’s Gamers, it was only being offered a kind of silent distribution partnership deal from National Lampoon. Wow, and I was starting to think by the wonderful movies they’ve released recently that they had a sort of “Amway” thing going where if you paid enough you could release a movie called “National Lampoon’s I eat six day old ass.”
When I was young the words “National Lampoon” were kind of sacred, the radio show was hysterical and edgy and they made classic movies like “Animal House” and “Vacation”.
I tried telling the guy in a polite way that I thought “Gamers” could help restore and attract a wider audience than what they currently have in their line-up and that our movie will be a “cult classic” and that it’s extremely “original” However, silence pretty much was the response from the other end of the phone call.
We talked a little more and despite the fact that it was a disappointing development for distribution, it wasn’t the end of the world. The movie will find a good home, it has good parents, parents who if they had 500K or a million dollars would go make another quality film.
Because after all, your name is your brand and once you sell out, there’s no getting it back. No matter if you make a movie called “Boobies”
posted @ 02:51 AM PDT [link] [Karma: 6 (+/-)]
Thursday, March 30, 2006
Evening Reflection by Christopher Folino
When I was eight I wrote my first script, it was a western, as I recall a new sheriff came to clean up a corrupt city. I had jokes like the sheriff telling the barber “I think I’ll just mosey on down to the bar and get myself something to drink” The Barber tells the sheriff “That’s a McDonalds, the bars the other way!”
Yeah, And I think I had electricity being brought into the town and a GE rep gathered the folks together and said “And on the fourth day, God said let their be light, and GE said let them pay for it!”
Wow, look at the awareness of product placement at the young age of eight. Impressive!
I remember watching “Three’s Company” with my father during that time and thinking “humor” is like religion, everybody has their own taste or no taste at all. For the record, I was more of a fan of “Airplane” and “Police Squad.” Then Jack Tripper.
Thirty years later and dealing with various distributors you start to understand which ones were fans of “Three’s Company.” They’re the ones who send you classic email responses to a simple question like this one “Hello Michael, I just want to confirm you got a screener copy of "Gamers?” Thanks, Chris”
Here is the response, unedited in all its glory.
“Hello Chris…and I watched it.”
That’s it, that’s the entire interaction; I sent a follow-up email trying to understand the response, however, he may have been to busy developing a new “Three’s Company” movie.
posted @ 10:50 PM PDT [link] [Karma: 3 (+/-)]
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Mid Week Blog by Christopher Folino
More feedback about the screening from folks who posted two reviews on IMDB, it’s nice because I honestly don’t know who these people are. I’ll ask around to see if anyone is related to the cast. The cool thing is that the reviews are from two women! And here I thought only 12 to 40 year old males would relate! I guess my inner woman really came out in my writing and characters.
Funny movie, charming cast
“I saw this at the March 21st screening and really enjoyed it. The cast has terrific chemistry –think of the give and take between the three main characters in “Office Space” and you’ve got the vibe of the “Gamers” cast. Funny throughout with some great lines that are going to become inside catch phrases. Even if you never got involved with a role playing game, you know someone who has and you’ll be able to relate. My nearly 20-year old son was sitting next to me on one side, my somewhat older boyfriend was sitting on the other side, and we all three laughed through the entire movie. Good luck getting distribution –the movie certainly deservers to be seen.”
You got to listen to this woman she is after all a Princess! And the line about “Inside catch phrases” Not a day goes by at work that we don’t all quote a line to each other from the film. Hell, we are those characters so that’s not a big stretch huh?
Author: Stacey Mendo
Gamers the movie
“Without a doubt this was one of the funniest movies I’ve watched in a long long time. I was one of the lucky ones to see a screening of this film and the humor in this movie is actually pretty clever. The situations are so absurd that I’ve never seen anything like it before. Cut scenes that show a radically new perspective on certain situations while setting up the punch lines. Some shots are a little gross but hilarious!!! The choice of casting is excellent—I especially liked the “Reese” and “Johnny” characters. Funny!! If you get a chance, see this film!”
If I ever get to met Stacey Mendo I’m going to buy her a pony!
So how is “Gamers” doing with distribution you ask today?
Talks continue with several distributors and screener copies are finally landing in the hands of various industry folks so more phone calls will be happening. It’s sad this isn’t Madden Franchise Football where you could fast forward the entire day or a week to get to the game.
I’m also hoping for some more reviews to hit soon, and we are also in talks with a couple of film festivals. When I say talks I mean I talk and they never return my call or email, it’s rather charming and SAG like.
However, we have a new cut of the film, which is like having a new car! We know our movie isn't a festival darling which is a gay-teen-coming-of-age-Eskimo movie that centers on the main characters secret that he cuts himself with fish heads for attention! However, it’s damn close!
I was going to share another cute daughter story, however, she mixed me the worst martini ever last night and then she tried to cover it up by serving it to me in a “Winnie the Pooh” cup with some cheetos. Looks like Malibu Barbie is going to lose another limb for that screw up.
posted @ 04:02 AM PDT [link] [Karma: 2 (+/-)]
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
"Tuesday Blog for my bloggies" by Christopher Folino
I’m starting to get into deeper conversations with distributors and one mentioned “We will cut a trailer for your movie.”
There were like two words that kept popping in my mind when he said that, “Fuck” and “No”.
Combined they do work and can express exactly how you feel. Switched around you have “No Fuck!” which makes you sound like a caveman warding off sexual advances from another male caveman who isn’t a pretty boy like those two in “Brokeback Mountain”.
Why so worried about a distributor cutting a trailer for your movie? Have you seen some of the trailers out there? “Suck” and “Ass” are two words that keep popping into my mind.
FYI, I don’t curse nearly as much in my home with the three kids around, in fact I got in trouble recently for using the word “Butt” instead of “Bottom”
Yeah, that’s the term my five year old daughter uses and always corrects me when I use the word “Butt” Even when I’m watching “Bevis and Butthead” it’s now “Bevis and Bottomhead.” And when I watch “Girls Gone Wild Volumes 1 thru 10,000” every night with my children, I have to catch myself and correct what I was about to say, like “ Hey, look at how high Snoop Dog can bounce a quarter off that girls…bottom, nice quarter bouncing bottom.”
Oh, I have so many stories like that, for example, I came home last night and my daughter drew a picture with all the characters from the Nickelodeon line-up” I'm talking a detail drawing of SpongeBob, Danny Phantom, Josh and Drake, and all the rest of the shows!"
You could tell my daughter spent a lot of hours creating this drawing and her mom was so proud.
Almost tears of prider in my wife's eyes.
Well, I sat my daughter down and I gave her D- for originality and I told her “Honey, you want to impress daddy? Then take those tiny little hands and draw me a photo of “Gamers” and then write me a letter to give all the distributors out there and tell them how much five year olds around the world would love “Gamers!” and while your at it, go get daddy a beer in a bottle! That’s right, no more drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon in can, daddy is a director now, he deserves it in bottle!” And use your teeth to open that bottle up, because your baby teeth are going away and Daddy doesn’t have time to waste! Uncle Snoop Dog is almost ready to bounce a fifty cent piece off some junior college girls!”
After I’ve had about 12 Pabst, I chew off the blue ribbons from the labels with my teeth and pretend it's a film festival award.
I'm proud to say that “Gamers” has taken home the Blue Ribbon over 91 times in the last two days!
I got to go “Gamers” is getting another Blue Ribbon for best costume design at the BET Film Festivals!
posted @ 04:33 AM PDT [link] [Karma: 4 (+/-)]
Monday, March 27, 2006
Hallmark moment and other stuff by Christopher Folino
I’m going to share a true story here on the blog, one that could easily be turned into a Hallmark Channel Special. My daughter who is five years old just got her school pictures taken and she told her mother, “Mommy, can we send one photo to heaven? So daddy’s mom can have a picture?” My wife cried a little and when I saw my daughter I hugged her and said “Baby, if daddy could send grandma anything in heaven, it wouldn’t be your photo, that’s for damn sure! I’d send her a blank lotto form for her to fill in the winning numbers or maybe she can off her lazy bones and get us some distribution!”
You got to traumatize them while they’re young, then later in life they’ll grow to be a painter, filmmakers that actually get into Sundance, or strippers! That’s called giving back to society, thanking all the other horrible fathers of the world for giving us folks like Roman Polanski and Jenna Jamison!
IMDB ranking for Gamers this week is 7,043. I think I’m officially over the whole IMDB MOVIEmeter. I loved it when the movie was in the 4,000 range and then bam it shot up to 8,000 in less than five days. Now, we dropped a thousand, man, who does the math over there at IMDB? Halliburton?
On Saturday evening, we got some feedback from a vice-president of a major, I’m talking major, film studio who stated the movie was original, something he’s never seen and he laughed a lot. He gave suggestions on some parts he’d cut out and encouraged us to shoot some more scenes and keep the movie at PG-13.
It’s validation to get feedback from someone whose been in the industry that long, I think it would be too painful to make it PG-13 and the movie would come in at 12 ˝ minutes if we did that. The nice thing is I don’t think the guy knew what the budget was! I’m sure he guessed low, however, not anemic!
The Seattle Film Festival starts May 25th, they have a version of the new cut and hands-down that’s our best shot.
The Melbourne Underground Film Festival is watching our film right now to determine if we would be a right fit. I think “Gamers” and “M.U.F.F.” go like peanut butter and chocolate don’t you? M.U.F.F. is the place “Jesus Christ: Vampire Hunters” opened the film festival and we would be honored to follow that legacy!
And lastly thanks to the kind emails from Chuck, Jason, and Derek yesterday. My dad made some “Gamers T-Shirts” as a surprise and I will send some out to you all.
I got to go, my daughter is talking about how real “Santa Claus” is and I need to set her straight on that one!
A special thanks to my dad and Lee for the awesome Patio.
posted @ 07:02 AM PDT [link] [Karma: 6 (+/-)]
Sunday, March 26, 2006
True Stories by Christopher Folino
So the night of the premiere a bit of bad luck bit me in the ass, I was helping carry some water and Monster drinks for the guest and the sound of a pop came from my left knee.
Fantastic, the next strangeness occurred the day after the showing.
We drove a copy of the movie down to a residential home up in Topanga Canyon around 7PM to get it to an important person in the industry. The guy gets home at 8PM and the package we left for him in his mailbox got stolen.
Who the hell steals mail from rich people? That’s so lame.
We have a special screener code on every movie we send out, so, if the movie shows up on Bit Torrent or Kazza we’ll be able to tell. So that was a lovely experience.
So, my next bit of weirdness comes from calling a distributor, let’s call them by their real name Worldwide Entertainment Corporation. I called them and spoke to the contact person and asked if they needed a screener copy and she shot back in a rather bitchy cold “I don’t have a heart” voice “Oh no, we saw it. Not interested.”
Man, I don’t mind if you hate the movie, its just wow, thank you putting a cherry of “hate” on top of that rejection.
It’s nice to know Hollywood doesn’t stereotype “bitches”
And if you work at Worldwide Entertainment Corporation and your reading this “Well, your distribution person is about as charming as the cancer that killed my mother.” And speaking of my dead mother, she has more warmth right now than your distributor.
So speaking of Hare, and in need of some good news I phoned Harry Knowles from “Ain’t it cool news” who we sent a screener copy of the movie two weeks ago. Wow, my charm knew no boundaries that day, Harry was as interested in speaking to me as my high school prom date Mary Lynn. Honest to God, the girl spoke six words to be the whole night. The first words were when she discovered there was no booze in the limo and the other was when we watched everyone dance slow and fast dance she offered to recite the Hare Krishna song for me.
It was a brutal night, my folks had spent money they didn’t have, and I thought because we both were Italian, Hungarian and Czechoslovakian that there would be connection. That connection was equal to how John Travolta thought making “Battlefield Earth” would connect with an audience.
Well, apparently Harry Knowles is Italian, Hungarian, and Czechoslovakian because, I got a mental picture as I was turning on the “Folino prom charm” he was urinating on the screener copy before he placed it in his trash and set it on fire.
Serious, I timed the phone call, it lasted all but a minute and forty seconds, of which I spoke for a minute and thirty-five seconds.
Well one thing I’m not is a quitter! I figured I need some star power so I called Michael Bell and Kelly LeBrock to see maybe they could call or email Harry and convince him to screen the movie.
Well as luck would turn out, a few years ago Harry and Michael Bell emailed each other and Harry is a huge Michael Bell fan.
So what does the great Michael Bell do for me? He writes the following email to Harry.
Regardless of Harry responds, how frickin cool and funny is Michael Bell?
Thought I had died didn't you? Hah, us voice folk live
forever....correction..us Vegetarian voice folk live forever.
I have been keeping up with your career ( only because mine has slowed
down to the point that I have considered doing infomercials for Depends
). You are the Phillip Seymour Hoffman yenta of the Internet set.So
proud of you..but not enough to let my neighbor who produces Queer as
Folk know that I know you.
Ok, enough gletting ( yiddish for sucking up ). I need something from
you and hope I am still an icon in your youthful id to get it granted.
I recently narrated a film. Yes, they like me, they really etc.
It is funny, cogent, pithy, terse,trenchent and life affirming..not
unlike Todd Slaughter's "Freaks".
I want you to screen it or whatever it is you do on your old 10 inch
Philco and review it.
Needless to say it is an indie and much rides on it...including the life
of an inner city child with one arm on a dialysis machine, and most of
the children in Darfur..not to mention my career.
The film is called...GAMERS. You will like it..better yet love it..or I
will release the photo I have of you going down on Kathy Bates while
getting porked by Paulie Shore.
Don't be a putz and snort with disdain,which I have an audio tape of you
doing (at least I think it was disdain you were snorting). I love Chris
Follino who wrote and produced the film. He is ( as my friends Barbi and
Sia Shane who you will never meet say ) The real deal. He banked his
house and 3 kids on this piece and it is worth my time and pride to
grovel to all who can help get it out there to look at it.
We gotta get this fucker a good release so he can move on and make more
WITH ME AND EVERYONE IN MY FAMILY IN THEM.
SHIT..hit the fucking whatever key and sent the piece without signing
off. How Susan Silver of me!
Ok, Harry. I'm finished. Don't make me sorry I did this. I am too old
Love ( without committment),
formally known as..
posted @ 05:48 AM PDT [link] [Karma: 3 (+/-)]