And To Make It A Better Movie (2023 Edition)
“Shake The Hippie” by THE 39 CLOCKS from their Pain It Dark LP, released in 1981 on the Independent No Fun Records label out of Germany.
The 39 Clocks are one of the most magnificent bands ever to have emerged from Germany; Diedrich Diederichsen, German pop boffin, considers them to be the nation's best band of the 1980s. The legendary duo from Hanover broke every rule in the music business, without exception. And -- above all -- with attitude. They are elusive, incapable of being categorized, unless the category is a little bit weird. Their real names have been eradicated ("never had one" -- Clocks), replaced by cryptic initials (CH-39, JG-39), less than randomly reminiscent of molecular chains like LSD-25. The weirdness is reflected in their music: sizzling irradiated, repetitive. The outrageous rumors surrounding the duo are the stuff of legend: strung-out live performances with vacuum cleaners instead of guitars, frequently facing a throng of concertgoers with a tendency to boo, flee the venue or threaten them with physical violence. The Clocks project really began to take shape in 1979 when they turned away from punk and created "psycho beat", positioning themselves as the antithesis of the emerging NDW/German New Wave movement. Their music is a futuristic, definitively urban, evolution of American garage punk from the 1960s. Their stylistic modus operandi: expressionless voice, English lyrics with an intentionally heavy German accent, dirty sound, cool monochrome image. Those lacking in imagination might identify touches of the Velvet Underground and stop right there, but many other influences were also at work: from Salvador Dali via the Troggs, Suicide, Peter Handke's Offending The Audience (1966), Antoine to Tiny Tim, Kurt Schwitters, Can, and NEU! The Clocks themselves spoke of "at least 123" sources of inspiration. In early 1980s Germany, the 39 Clocks were, at one and the same time, a panoply of discernible influences and a singular phenomenon with a clear, inimitable sonic identity. Time and again, the 39 Clocks succeeded in pushing back the borders of experimentation a little further: barely tolerable, protracted live improvisations, atonal passages, background noises, extreme lo-fi and a tinny beatbox test the listener's receptivity to the limit. And their sonic experiments popped up in various film soundtracks and on television series, like Halt and Catch Fire in the US. The Next Dimension Transfer box set, authorized by the band, provides the ultimate overview of the Clocks' output -- a phantom of the German music underground, enshrouded in myth.
This a great reminder of what it takes to make a movie and the miracle we experience when creativity, hard work and the stars all align to make it a reality :)
Excellent checklist, especially the points on how to get funding, which always seems to be main sticking point on developing the project. I always used to do little 1-2 person stop motion shorts and, even on little projects, there were many of these things to take into account.
Kudos on the Bela Tarr shout out.
A primer for film students and film makers.
Something I perceive is the necessary coupling of patience and tenacity. A sort of tireless commitment to progress while actively resisting the urge to “rush to nowhere”. And I suppose to do that well, one must truly believe in what they’re selling.... which must come from a commitment to your stated creative principles. Thanks Ted as always!
I’m sorry to be a contrarian but I completely disagree with this article and find it to be willfully misleading to aspiring filmmakers.
Some of the steps are good steps to practice but insofar as no. 8 goes, oh brother! Love for the film industry? Seriously? To borrow a metaphor, the film industry is A CLOSED SET, a royal court for which only money, connections and/or influence will get you entree. Additionally, you have to kowtow to the current narratives/ideologies in order to be considered. The film industry is completely controlled; this is no secret; and all the related courses, classes and contests are just cul de sacs to keep you spinning in a fairy tale of hope that you will be discovered.
I’ve got news for you--you won’t. No one gives a crap about good movies, movies that make you think, feel good about life, inspire you to greatness. A Sundance programmer once said that they want dark movies to bring down the people. Think about that! Why would you want to do that?! Huh?! That example is just the tip of the iceberg as to the people that really run the film industry, their true nature. It’s all built on lies, deception, of literally selling your souls to the devil (you think I’m kidding?!)
If you’re willing to do/go through all that, it’s your call. Outside of that, the only way you can make your movies is by sheer force of will to go against this corrupt deceptive industry.
Thank you for the list! I will be sharing it with my collaborators!
I invite you and your readers here to my new series “Nonlinear Film School” where I write from the trenches : ) with the idea to celebrate this great art form, learn from and support each other.
Greetings from Bulgaria!
I shared this on Twitter so if you see that, sorry for the repetition.
Last week you asked for comments on an ideal environment to support filmmakers. I asked for a map. This is the map I asked for. Thank you! It’s specific enough to give direction but vague enough to facilitate almost any project.
The 39 Clocks, their Independent career and songs, serve as metaphor and shining example for the 57 Steps To Getting Your Movie Made. Also their “Psycho Beat” rhythms make you dance funny, which is never a bad thing.
Honestly, reading this list (five years into what is essentially a solo feature-length project), I just feel exhausted. A big part is not having found my community, having moved to a country where I don't speak the language well. Is there a way to see the list as energizing, rather than insurmountably daunting?
love this list
This is great. Thanks Ted.
The song in the Youtube link posted here is in desperate need of an Avant-Garde music video to replace the washed out still image of the guys in sunglasses. Great and thoughtful list Ted...
Gives me HOPE! lol
Or you can just write your script and make it on your own with the resources you have. I get this is a great list for people conencted in the industry but for most people it means years of chasing the dream and not making anything. I do appreciate your share though. Don’t get me wrong. I think if you know enough people, don’t have to work two jobs and you have the time for running around and networking it’s great. I mean that sincerely, not being sarcastic. I just think it’s important to remember there are many great filmmakers out there who can’t follow this.
Nice lists, but unfortunately, I hate making lists and reading them. I much prefer making films. Unfortunately, even if you make the best film in the world, but nobody sees it, well should you cut off your ears and gouge out your eyes. If we are not centered on getting our projects out to the world, we will be sitting in our little boxes feeling sorry for ourselves. I would like to help filmmakers get their movies made and out there for the world to see.
Here is the plan:
1) Put together a Showcase for Independent, low budget filmmakers.
2) Do it the easy way: since marketing is key, we will do a Teaser and Trailer Showcase.
3) Filmmakers who are trying to raise money to make their projects will submit their Teasers and those who have made their projects and are looking for worldwide distribution will submit their Trailers.
4) The Teasers and Trailers will be viewed by the public and they will vote on those they want to see made and those they want to see soon in theaters or in their living rooms.
5) We would also have a Pitch Party in which filmmakers could pitch their ideas. Although you cannot copyright an idea. A taped pitch will at least solidify a time and date on your project and if the public votes for your pitch, it may help it get made.
6) The Trailer has been around for over a century, we will offer to make a VRamer for the winning Trailer, so that they will have an Interactive/Immersive Video Game to market their film. A game in which the player interacts with the characters in the film and is immersed in the story.
7) We will do a video review and interview series that will highlight low budget, independent films and the people who made them. We will be known as "The Buzz of the B's."