|DWTS Update from James Zahn
||[Sep. 26th, 2006|02:07 pm]
Death Walks the Streets
From the Official DWTS MySpace
Bringing back the element of surprise...
There was a time not too long ago when the makers of films didn't show or share near as much pre-release information as we of the internet age have grown used to. As much as some of us love to get our "Spoiler" fix here and there, in some ways we've truely become spoiled. As a filmmaker this is both a blessing and a curse.
Audiences have grown used to seeing juicy photos from upcoming films on websites, news programs, and of course the old stand-by, paper magazines. Sometimes we get so bombarded with info, trailers, teasers, and photos, that by the time a film actually comes out, we feel like we've already seen all the good stuff. People complain all the time that movie trailers "give away the whole movie" or that "the best stuff was in the trailer." If that's the case, then why is it that studios and filmmakers continue to make the same mistakes? People actually thought that "Snakes on a Plane" was going to open in the $30-$40M range. It barely made it to #1 opening weekend with a total somewhere in the $13M range. I think it's because people knew exactly what they were going to get. If the title didn't say it blatantly enough, the trailers and photos in every media outlet certainly did.
Quite simply, filmmakers often "blow their load" way to early.
Many in the horror genre are especially guilty of this, with an increasing number of offenses taking place on the indie side of things. You can go online today and visit just about any horror-specific website you choose and see tons of bloody pics from movies that won't be out for months. Sometimes it even seems like a race to see who can out-gore the next guy. I'm all for some shock here and there, but why not save it for the movie? Let the audience experience the element of surprise, shock, awe, or whatever emotion you'd like to convey with your story. Don't give it all away so that the audience sits there thinking "Oh, I bet that shot I saw online is coming up."
In making "Death Walks..." I've kept all of this in mind. Most of you are aware that this is not only my first feature film as a writer-director, but also that I've been extremely fortunate enough to be surrounded by an experienced cast and crew that are just as excited about the project as I am. We're all in agreement that we shouldn't give too much away.
If you've watched the Podcasts, you heard me talk about some of the films that influenced me as a child.
Remember the first trailer for Gremlins? You never actually got to see a Gremlin. Not until the film came out anyway. Even the theatrical posters showed a small box with a pair of furry hands sticking out. Only when moviegoers entered the theatre for the first time did they get their first glimpse at "Gizmo." (when they did the re-release, of course the creatures were all over the ads). When the first Star Wars was approaching, the ads were simple...black posters with white text, radio commercials with simple sound effects, and people were in awe. Curiosity and wonder brought audiences to the theatres, and word-of-mouth increased their numbers. Call me nostalgic, but those were times when movies actually meant something. I don't think I'm alone in that belief.
In recent days a few less-than-savory individuals have chosen to attack us for "not showing enough", even going as far as to question whether or not we had anything to show. The fact is, we have much to show you, but only when the time is right. I've got a hard drive full of images of concept artwork, make-up tests, creature designs, set designs, costume designs, and a pile of blueprints sitting on the desk next to me. It's all a mouse-click away. I could share it with all of you right now...but I won't. I want you to be surprised...to have something to look forward to next year.
We will continue to share little bits and pieces here and there. There will be plenty of photos, podcasts, and behind-the-scenes to go around. But we will be careful of how much of what gets shown.
We'll show you the process, without spoiling the fruit.
You might've seen the pics we posted the other day. If not, here they are again...pieces of something larger...
We'll give you a peek, but to see the whole picture, it'll have to be in
"a theatre near you."
2007's not that far away...
Thanks for reading and following our journey,