Dear Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader, You’re Famous, WTF Are You Doing on Kickstarter

17 May

I do love that tagline: “It’s not the Hills…” Hahahaha!

At first I saw that Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader were making a movie together and I was all, Yessssssssssssssssss.

Then I processed the fact that they’re doing a Kickstarter project to fund it. Something about “creative control BLAH BLAH BLAH, not relying on the industry or a studio WANK WANK WANK.”

GUYS. Kickstarter is for people who are not Bret Easton Ellis or Paul SchraderKickstarter is for us poor suckers who want to someday be Bret Easton Ellis or Paul Schrader.

“A kind of DIY mentality, shooting with friends, shooting on low-cost equipment, then it moves to setting up a website, going on Facebook, and the next step is you’re going on Let It Cast to start casting, next step is you’re all of a sudden going on Kickstarter to bring in an audience base….and it’s all part of a new way– I mean, I personally think that films, right now, are sort of where they were 100 years ago, they’re being reinvented right in front of our eyes.” — Paul Schrader

OH MY GOD. Paul Schrader, we have a DIY mentality and we shoot with friends and shoot on low-cost equipment because we have no other options. Because we don’t have access to studios, or expensive equipment. And we’re hoping and praying and selling our souls that one of our “friends” turns out to be the next Bret Easton Ellis, we are not actually working with Bret Easton Ellis. 

You made it! You don’t have to do this crap anymore! You’re being nostalgic for when you were young and broke and poor and no one knew your names. That is the worst kind of indulgent, narcissistic, amnesia-fueled midlife crisis there is. If you really want to do a Kickstarter project, you should all be required to eat nothing but cereal and Top Ramen for the duration of the project, and you should have to beg your parents to keep paying your cell phone bills and also ask if maybe you can use their garage for a shooting location if you promise, promise, promise to clean up?

Look, I get that with the advent of the Internet, making art has become a free-for-all. How can “real” comedians be expected to survive when any jackass with a Twitter can make jokes all day long nowHow can “real” authors survive when anyone can self-publish? But as Richard Russo points out, in a Seattle Times interview about Amazon publishing, all this technology isn’t bad for people who have “name recognition. And for brand-new writers who are having a hard time breaking in, Amazon is good for writers like us who have name recognition. And for brand-new writers who are having a hard time breaking in, they provide an outlet. It’s the mid-list literary writer who gets squeezed out when the market contracts.” 

We can worry about the mid-list artists, yes. But Kickstarter is for those having a hard time breaking in. Special report to Paul Schrader and Bret Easton Ellis: you have name recognition.

Just look at what they’re promising to funders— For $5,000, “Bret Easton Ellis will read and review your novel and have that review appear on an international blog or website” (cue angry, drug-fueled white boys coming in their pants). For $5,001, “Have your script covered by Paul Schrader– Notes to be delivered in person (NY or LA) or skype” (cue film majors vomiting on their own feet). 

They’re ruining it for the rest of us. How do we stand a chance against that?!? Sure, I can offer to read your script and deliver notes in person, but unless that comes with a sexual favor, I don’t think you’re going to care.  

Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader, you should be funding Kickstarter projects, not pitching them. I’m sorry if you don’t like being famous, but that’s just too bad. Maybe you can make an angsty commerical about it. Look, I get that you two aren’t Tom Cruise and Michael Bay, but you’re certainly not that college kid with a video camera and a skateboard for a tracking shot. You shouldn’t be trying to recreate your lost days of obscurity and despair that the world might not let you do what you loved. 

You should be in the process of giving back by giving some young unknowns a chance, the way somebody once gave you one. You’re siphoning our dream gasoline! Step away from the straw. It’s too skinny and there’s too little fuel for all of us to get a hit as it is.

I hope this is a hoax. Internet, would you do some research and get back to me? I’ve got to go burn all my hopes and dreams.

MM

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3 Responses to “Dear Bret Easton Ellis and Paul Schrader, You’re Famous, WTF Are You Doing on Kickstarter”

  1. Jihan Abdalla 29 May 2012 at 2:36 am #

    I think you’re missing the point. First of all, there is nothing on the KickStarter website that supports your theory that it’s specifically limited for “Poor Suckers Who Someday Want to be “who-ever.”

    All the current projects are independent and unique from one another. Creating a buzz through the supported of your friends and fans is really fantastic- Why should anyone with a “name” be excluded if there is no competition or voting? There is no competition or voting.

    The fact that these guys are partially funding “The Canyons” through KS isn’t harming any of the other projects on the site much less your career.

    Real artists, mover/shakers, or anyone with great talent are seldom intimidated by their peers. Instead we embrace and compliment each other because we understand one another and share a similar passion. We might be in an economic crisis, but there is still ample room for fresh artists, fantastic ideas and lots and lots of great projects. If you are worried about your apparent lack of “name recognition” or being bled out in the middle somewhere – maybe you should breathe before you slurp down that next bite of Top Ramen over there and stop slandering people?

  2. Josh Smith 30 May 2012 at 8:23 pm #

    Believe me, MM, I do feel YOUR pain.

    Let me offer some unsolicited advice:

    1. Kickstarter screens projects before they are placed online. Go directly to them and demand that their platform should only be for “struggling artists” and not overachievers like Mr Ellis and Mr Schrader- how dare they intrude on “sacred territory”?

    2. Create a project or two (even more if you’re that prolific) that is so undeniably, irresistibly, earth-shattering AWESOME that fans couldn’t help but donate, support and spread like wildfire. And because you have the “dream gasoline”, imagine the flame that will create- unrelenting, unstoppable, time-warping, galaxy-engulfing wildfire!

    Who knows- maybe even Mr Schrader himself would offer to direct it.

    I sincerely wish you the best of luck in all your creative endeavors. May you be granted the keys to the kingdom sooner rather than later.

  3. Farrell 15 October 2012 at 10:39 am #

    You can be famous and still have trouble getting a film made. Studios control the content that gets produced, not filmmakers. Schrader started a kickstarter page to seek partial funding for his film because no studio would touch it, and instead of wanting to deal with shady, backstabbing alternative financiers, he decided to take advantage of the new platform of social media. That puts him in the same boat you’re in…not able to make a film because of lack of funding, famous or not. Schrader’s kickstarter campaign is not stopping other poor Joe’s from getting their film financed. If the idea is good, people will donate, it’s as simple as that. You are the worst kind of narcissist…it’s not your own fault that you haven’t made it, it’s someone else’s fault! Rather than focus on developing my talent and making it, let me blame Paul Schrader for my problems! It’s the exact kind of thinking that will keep you poor and unproduced.

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