Thursday, December 9, 2021
Thursday, October 1, 2020
There's been something of a long held view now, (with the help of the 10 part series I've conveniently already forgotten the name of because of it's clear propaganda value), that Michael Jordan is the GOAT. He's certainly one of the greatest ever, but I think it's pretty clear LeBron James has ripped that title away fom MJ. Here's a really quick snippet to consider, which favors LBJ heavily, think back to 1994, the year the Bulls went a full season w/o the 'GOAT'. Would you care to guess the Bulls records w/o the greatest player ever? They must've struggled to eke out a playoff spot, right? Oh sure, maybe they got to about .500, (41 games) but certainly not much more than that... right? Try 53 wins, 3rd in the east and a bad call away from getting to another NBA Finals appearance... WITHOUT MICHAEL JORDAN!!! The greatest ever!!!
Now, can you honestly name an LBJ team that could win 50 w/o him? The 2013 team w/ D Wade, Ray Allen, and Chris Bosh was probably the best team LBJ had up until now w/ AD. Could that team win 50 w/o LeBron? Any team is easily gonna lose at least 10 games w/o LBJ.... Maybe, MAYBE, maybe that 2013 team wins 50, even in the East, but just as easily could just get to 45... How 'bout those Cleveland teams? You kidding me? They may not win 30... C'mon ya'll, if I didn't go any further than this, it'd be a compelling argument. But, speaking of the 2013 Heat, ya know who they beat that year? The Spurs, w/ a legit 4 Hall Of Famers: Manu, Duncan, Tony Parker, & Kawhi (I know you'd say he was too young, but the next year he's the Finals MVP!) How 'bout the year before, beating OKC (3 HOF's, figure 'em out. I know you're saying, 'they're too young to considered HOF,' but they got to an NBA Finals. KD played in 3 total.)
|MJ thinking, "How many HOFers did I beat?"|
How many HOFers did MJ's Bulls beat? Well, the first title against LA you had Magic & Worthy but Big game James got hurt midway through the series as did Byron Scott (had they not got hurt in game 4 they were cruising to double digit win which would've tied it a 2-2.) After that, Portland had 1 w/ Clyde, Phoenix Suns had 1 w Charles (Ainge was on that team but prob not HOFer), Seattle w/ Gary Payton, then Utah w Stockton & Malone. So clearly, MJ never beat a team w/ more than 2 HOFers whereas LeBron beat teams w/ both 3, 3, & 4 legit HOFers. And, though the East was regarded as tougher than the West throughout the 80's & 90's one of the Bulls biggest challenges getting out of the East (other than Detroit obviously) was my beloved NY Knicks. My NY Knicks w/ 2 starters from the CBA scrapheap (more on this later...) While we're on the subject of quality of competition, look at the difference in the eras. Many folks would say, 'gee Joe, how would one determine that w/ all those great players in the 80's & 90's?' Simple, think of the principle of dilution... What if we would add 4 more teams to the current NBA in the next 2 years? What would that do to the talent base? Would it dilute the talent pool, water it down a tad? Umm, not hard to figure it out, it'd dilute by about 12% or so... Guess what happened from 1988-1990 in the NBA? They added 4 new teams!!
Now, you sit there & say to yourself 'ok, fine metrics nerd, with your diluting the talent pool nonsense, but MJ still coulda beat whomever...' Hmmm, maybe, actually probably not. Remember when I mentioned my beloved Knicks earlier, w/ their two rotation guys John Starks & Anthony Mason (RIP Mace) from the CBA? Well, gee, why ya think that was? Because clearly w/ the 4 new teams added to the League, they had to find other avenues for players. Ask yourself this: how many current rosters that get to a Conference Finals have 2 G-League players? Huh buddy boy, how many? How 'bout NONE!!!!! Imagine if the NYK had a few extra picks, imagine them w/ a few more shooters on the roster? A team that took MJ & Bulls to 7 in '92 & was up 2-0 in Conference Finals in '93. It would be very easy to wipe a few titles off the board, then add a few more pieces for everyone else & those 6 titles are in peril. Is that maybe why it took MJ 7 years to win a title? Is that why he couldn't even get to a Conference Finals pre- expansion? Oh don't worry Max Kellerman, I can hear you now: "The first time MJ played w/ another All-Star he got a chip..." Oh is that right, Schlemeil? Yeah, really? How 'bout when you play w/ a Rookie of the Year, a 1st team all- defender, AND a guy who LEADS THE DAMN LEAGUE IN REBOUNDING 2 YEARS IN A ROW!!!! I call that another All Star, guess what? With Charles Oakley & Scottie Pippen the Bulls still got BOUNCED, several times!
There goes that theory out the window, Max. (Yes, in 1987 Charles Barkley, #1 had a higher average than did Oakley#2, but Oak had more total rebounds AND in 1988 Oak lead in both average & total & Oak never got hurt, he played every game!) So don't sit there & tell me MJ didn't have anybody before Scottie. You could easily say Oak was one of best 3 or so power forwards in the game, period! See, here's the key to the Chicago Bulls winning all those titles, it's the reason the Bulls won 53 w/o MJ. It's Scottie Pippen! What? Get out, absurd! Blasphemy! Well, the Bulls lost in game 7 to Detroit in Conf Finals in 1990... Why? Scottie had a migraine. NY Knicks were the only team in a 6 year run to take the Bulls to 7 in '92. Why? Xman Xavier McDaniel beat up on Da Pip! The only time the Bulls were ever down 0-2 in '93, why? Mace beating up on Pip! Bulls won 53 w/o Jordan, more, WAY MORE GAMES THAN MJ EVER WON W/O PIPPEN! Scottie Pippen! Think about it, just let it stew awhile & think about it....
LeBron? Third year, w/ NO ONE else on that team, No one even coming remotely close to a Charles Oakley, LBJ took his Cleveland team to a Finals, he loses to the Spurs 3 HOFers. Then he puts together a run of 8 straight Finals, 10 total and look at some of those Cle teams. In 2015 w/ no Kyrie nor KLove, he's literally inches away from taking the Warriors 7. In 2016 he beats the best record ever in the League. In 2018, a team of absolute spare parts: no Kyrie, only Kevin Love now & literally not much else. (Tristan Thompson prob next best player. He'd still not be as good as a Charles Oakley.) And yet, here's LeBron James scoring 51 points, 8 Reb, 8 assists, 1 steal, 1 block and if not for major bonehead play by JR Smith, steals a game 1 from one of the greatest teams ever. Now seriously, can anyone say w/ a straight face that MJ could take that 2018 Cleveland team to an NBA Finals? I'd argue MJ's 1988, '89, '90 teams were all better rosters than Cle & yet he couldn't even get to a Finals. How bout just mano e mano, seriously, is there any doubt w/ his superior size & strength that LBJ couldn't beat MJ in 1 on 1. LBJ could stop MJ once in awhile, but you can't say the same for MJ stopping LBJ. Then let's just dispose of this myth of MJ being this great defender. I don't care how many All- defensive teams he made, MJ one on one, was never a great defender the way Scottie Pippen or Horace Grant were. MJ got a lot of steals & was certainly a good, solid defender but he was nowhere the two way player, say, Joe Dumars was... Why do you think MJ lost to Dumars & Detroit 4 STRAIGHT TIMES!!
C'mon folks, it's time to stop w/ this 'back in my day, son' bias that's just a lotta BULL!! I feel pretty confident I've proved demonstrably that LBJ is the GOAT. LeBron James is like Magic, MJ, Pippen all rolled into the body of Karl Malone. He's a freak, a modern marvel of various forms of sports medicine & just a freak of nature. And yes, of course, Michael Jordon is one of the greatest to ever lace up sneakers, he's just not quite as good as LeBron... And, it's not really that close!
Monday, August 26, 2019
Lemme tell y'all lil story. I was at a screening of last year's Studio 54 doc directed by Vanity Fair editor/writer Matt Tynauer who's made docs on Valentino, Scotty & the Secret History of Hollywood, as well as several others... Matt is something of an expert on design & Philippe Starck's work, as he's written many pieces on both Ian Schrager & his boutique Hotels (designed by Starck) hence his ability to finally get Ian to open up about Studio 54. I talked to Matt for awhile before the film, and mentioned I was a fan of his work and the pieces on Starck, then mentioned my doc.... And... I got a big, blank look, that turned into embarrassment. Matt admitted despite writing multiple pieces on Philippe he had never heard of Starck Club and was a tad sheepish about it. Think about it y'all, a guy who was an expert on Philippe Starck had never heard of our club... Never!!!
With that in mind, do we all just wanna let it sink into obscurity, just some sad, pathetic space in the basement of some old brewery Building in downtown Dallas. I 'spose we could. I fully grasp the fact that many, some quite powerful in their chosen endeavors now, don't care to shine a light on past indiscretions... But, let's be blunt, nobody cares, really. The last 3 Presidents have all had a few publicized hiccups along the way, I mean if POTUS can get away w/ it, what's stopping y'all? Seriously, let's help it live forever. Why? 'Cause look at how polarized we are today. In case you Sociology experts have been asleep on this one, this country has not been this divided & polarized in decades. Maybe A CENTURY! That's right, the closest thing to the divide we see now was Vietnam, but in a few short years after the peak of Troop level in country, and after Tet '68, the tide turned very much against LBJ and the war. Despite Nixon's Silent Majority he was booted out of office less 5 years after taking it.... At Starck Club you had red neck oil man, Cocaine Republicans, and Dallas conservative hoi poll oi dancing alongside Euro & NYC Drag queens. Gay, straight, Bi, Trans didn't matter.... DIDN'T MATTER IN MAYBE THE REDDEST STATE IN THE COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Guys come on, it's not just about a film. WE all know people who won't even talk to family members who voted for Trump (or vice versa voted for HRC.) We're so divided as a country... To be clear, I freely admit I made the second best doc on Starck Club and ask yourselves if people knew or heard of Starck, doncha think we'd have not just one but 2 docs out there about this magical moment in time. The birth of the entire EDM, Rave, Ecstasy scene. MDMA was made illegal because of our lil Starck. Guys, a law was changed because of Starck Club & Dallas. How many shootings/suicides could have been avoided if the research on MDMA & PTSD been allowed to continue instead of being stymied for decades. YES STARCK CLUB DID ALL THAT!!
I mean, is it really such an effort to just take a minute or two to write a review or pass along a link? It's that much effort? C'mon y'all....... folks, it's not that difficult just to write damn review, hit share, just watch something free on Prime. C'mon guys, this is a time we need a Starck like moment again:) And, most importantly, it's not just about these documentaries, it's the fact we were inches away from selling the Pilot I'd written loosely based on Starck just last year to a major Studio... Inches away!!
Let's do it... And, hey just have an Amazon Prime double header & see how these two Sex, Drugs, Design: Warriors of the Discotheque compare
and Studio 54: A Documentary
If you can't do Amazon try Vimeo https://vimeo.com/ondemand/197837?autoplay=1 or Youtube
Friday, August 9, 2019
Last call for for Starck Club or Sex, Drugs, Design: Warriors of the Discotheque get another bite of the Apple:)
FF, as well as screening at the Legendary Texas Theatre a few months later. In the meantime, we screened this film around the world: Australia to London, NYC, Palm Springs, Las Vegas, and of course, Tinsletown... Then, miraculously, a whole slew of extremely rare stock footage and interviews came into our clutches. Finally, we created the COMPLETE version which we've been offering on Blu Ray, and now FINALLY available on all VOD platforms for all of you to peruse.
So here it goes, you guys reading this are getting the first crack on Amazon & Amazon Prime so please make sure to RATE & REVIEW!!!!
Thursday, August 1, 2019
I can't detail all the behind the scenes machinations of the aforementioned films, but I can detail the ways my own shorts became profitable (and led to writing work.) I'll start w/ the first: Back Home Years Ago: The Real Casino. http://jfafilms.com/films_therealcasino.html As you'd guess it's about the real wiseguys from Chicago who were the basis for the Scorsese mob epic, Casino. It started as a short 7 min piece of John & Janet Pierson's (she runs SxSW now) old show Split Screen which was on IFC/Bravo. They gave me most of money to shoot the film (and I used a small amount of my own,) but the story clearly was more involved than just a 7 min short. The longest version lives here on Amazon Prime, as well as some other paltforms I'll get into laterhttp://www.amazon.com/Real-CASINO-Special-Bonus/dp/B008PBCT0A & Fandor. https://www.fandor.com/films/back_home_years_ago
After it aired on IFC, I cut an initial 30 min version which screened at New Filmmakers-Anthology Film Archives, NYC, then trimmed it down to a 24 min version for the Chicago PBS affiliate WTTW. (There was a short section on Milwaukee mob boss Frank Balistrieri they wanted excised to focus soley on Chicago.) Then I cut a more web friendly 14 min version that got bought by a shorts company called Hypnotic (then owned by Universal) and streamed online, sold to Euro cable, Airlines, etc. Hypnotic sold their library of shorts to WellSpring Media (Steve Bannon owned it at the time, go figure:)UK based Shorts International bought the library, gave me more money for an advance and sold it on their various ShortsHD https://shorts.tv/en/ channels, etc. Because I'd cut so many versions and had a lot of out takes, etc. I had enough material to release a DVD that eventually got onto Netflix. In addition, the 14 min version was bought by TF 1 for the French release of Casino. http://www.commeaucinema.com/dvd/casino1725 Then of course the DVD itself sells on Amazon and as well as downloads, etc. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00013RBPI/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_ME3Fzb6W8MYPR
Overall, I'd say I've made 4 to 5 times the budget over the years and money comes in still both monthly & quarterly from various deals. True, it's a unique situation, but it's a short that's def made a nice amount of $ (low to mid 5 figures.) But most importantly, the doc lead to a relationship w/ Writer/Director Joe Carnahan that in turn lead to a low six figure writing deal & membership w the WGAw, everything you'd want a short film to do for your career. (I flipped some of that money into the feature version of Warriors of the Discotheque, which also started as a short that made $.) Keep in mind, flexibility, and especially persistence, were key here. I could've easily just done the 7 min version for Split Screen & called it a day, but instead, I kept cutting new versions to suit the market opportunities.... The original Split Screen/Criterion Channel version screened in Las Vegas at the Silver State Film Festival Sept. 5-8 2019, as well as a slew of other International Fests, and achived what one has to say every filmmaker's dream: that is to one day get the 'Criterion' treatment... And, as part of the legendary, groundbreaking series Split Screen, we did just that... Now on the Criterion Channel on you can stream Season 4, Episode 3 here https://www.criterionchannel.com/split-screen-season-four-1/season:1/videos/split-screen-s4-e3-all-that-kc-jazz (originally Episode 18 on the initial IFC Show.) The final 40 minute version lives here on Plex, XumoTV, Amazon, ZuZu in Canada, & Social Club TV. Also here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhMnfaZ2hBk&t=180s Most importantly, as mentioned prior, not only did it lead directly to studio gig for Joe Carnahan but also a script that was loosely based on making of said doc & has been my calling card script for other work.
In terms of parlaying this short into a Hollywood writing job, it was not quite a marathon, but far from a sprint. I ended up meeting Joe Carnahan indirectly through Peter Broderick who ran Next Wave Films for IFC which provided the finishing funds for Joe's first feature Blood, Guts, Bullets, & Octane. I was able to stay in touch with Joe as I moved to Northern Cali not long after doing The Real Casino, and I found myself on the Casino DVD in France & getting a separate DVD release which Joe took note of. Of course, he was at a much higher level as he was negotiating the success of Narc & choosing his follow up... I had done another low budget feature called Into The Chasm that he was a fan of and sent him a few of my scripts. As he was prepping Smokin' Aces he jumped into a new project (the details are here: https://variety.com/2005/film/markets-festivals/helmer-high-on-drug-pic-1117930524/ ) about a young kid who was a drug dealer in high school up in Blaine, WA. He needed someone to knock out a first draft and even though it never saw the light of day, it did lead to other opportunities. (Including paying for The Starck Doc & indirectly The Early Inauguration, having that synergistic effect.) I'd say now more than ever, ya need to show people something other than just a deck or sizzle reel. These docs demonstrate an understanding of a world I usually get hired to write (just started a gig few week back as of this update August, '21 The Real Casino got me) that in many cases do more for me than my spec scripts. The point is, you have to nurture relationships without question, but you also have to keep doing the work!!! Had I not continued along in the process of writing & directing, there would be little reason for Joe to track my progress.
Next, Warriors of the Discotheque: The Starck Club Documentary short version (which became a feature) http://jfafilms.com/films_warriors_of_the_discotheque.html. It too had a built in advantage 'cause it had a pre-existing avid fan base. The Starck Club was a super hot Club in the 80's in Dallas that was legendary designer Philippe Starck's first foray in the US and it was actually legal to buy MDMA aka ecstasy there, people would put it on their credit cards. The DEA stepped in and made it a category 1 drug on July 1, 1985. This, despite NOT really understanding anything about MDMA... It wouldn't be an understatement to say The Starck Club was not only ground zero for the popularization of ecstasy, the whole rave scene, but even lit the fuse for the entire Billion dollar, DJ driven, EDM (Electronic Dance Music) scene.
The short traveled the Fest circuit including the premiere at the USA Film Festival in Dallas, HollyShorts, (both Academy accredited), New Filmmakers- Anthology Film Archives- NYC and a slew of many others. While the short did make money, it's most important purpose was to be a testing ground for the feature. At the short's preem at USA FF, the theater was literally packed after a lengthy front page piece in the Dallas Morning News. Had I been properly prepared, I could've made a small fortune then & there w/ DVDs, T-Shirts, Posters, etc. (When I preemed the feature at USA I was very well prepared getting back a significant chunk of my budget the first week, in person & online.)https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002OSWUA4/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_x_3N3FzbA9MMNRA as well as VOD https://www.amazon.com/Warriors-Discotheque-Starck-Club-Documentary/dp/B... https://www.amazon.com/gp/video/detail/B07W718LJN/ref=cm_sw_tw_r_pv_wb_z9PVFbo9VhvZn
The last film, The Early Inauguration, you can find here http://jfafilms.com/films_shorts.html and
here https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01HST08VG#_swftext_Swf and here on streamer Filmzie Now, on this one, I made money essentially by having spent nothing on the short 'cause Fandor helped raise money for it via it's KS page (scroll down) here https://www.kickstarter.com/pages/Fandor here https://www.fandor.com/filmmakers/director-joseph-alexandre-1671 But, it was easily the most miserable experience I've had in filmmaking. I despise these campaigns, the web equivalent of banging around w/ a tin cup. (I know some folks are able to make it all exciting and inclusive, but despite my best efforts it just felt like begging:) If I'd been part off this collective http://filmmakermagazine.com/93448-fandor-to-finance-original-shorts-pro... I'd have really made a lot more $. By the looks of one film, one of the filmmakers spent about $2500 on the film and pocketed 8K. There are still a few deals on the horizon, one of which is a deal I signed w/ Shorts International & https://shorts.tv/en/ for broadcast on ShortsHD- Home of the Oscar Shorts (Channel 573 on DirectTV) in the US as well as AT&T U-Verse (Channel 1789) US Sonet (Channel 292) CenturyLink (Channel 1789) Frontier Communications (Channel 1789) Google Fiber (Channel 603.) The money from ShortsTV was almost the entire budget and w Amazon Prime the film would be in the black even if I would have financed the film out of pocket....
In short, no pun intended, there are an amalgam of factors one has to consider when embarking upon a short. Most important, one has to pursue a project that you have genuine interest in, but it doesn't hurt to consider if there is a niche audience or built in following so to speak... Or some sort of wider draw, for instance with a film like The Early Inauguration, one could make the case it'd be relevant every two years, during a Presidential election year, of course, but also a mid term year as well. You can also see TEI here as well as here https://vimeo.com/ondemand/teipoliticalpack as a double header to my newest short Ralphie's 'Blue'. I consider Ralphie's 'Blue' a companion piece to 'The Early Inauguration' in which TEI was the 'raison d'etre' for Donald Trump's campaign as he was going to 'drain the swamp' & fix the 'rigged' system. Wherein, Ralphie's 'Blue' is the end result of those 4 years culminating in the January 6th insurrection... The 2 shorts should absolutely be watched back to back.
Good luck & plan well!!
Saturday, October 21, 2017
|Andrew Garfield in Red Riding 1974|
|Andy Serkis in 24 Hour Party People|