small town Mexico, Desperado has gunslinging, outlaws, barrooms and brawls,
sleazy barkeeps, hidden rooms, vengeance quests and horsepower. Not only that,
but stereotypes abound, which gets us to the "I, member-of-group" can
call me that but "You, not-member-of-group" better be careful
Hispanically corrects applauding Desperado simply due to the origins of the
director and cast? Or is that an impression simply created through marketing
hype to cash in on America's racist guilt trip?
is so successful for what it is, I cannot imagine them not lauding it bandwagon
style, but the film is also similar in detail to films blasted for their
negatively stereotyped characters (Anyone old enough to remember "stinkin'
badges" or the "Frito Bandito"?) that I am surprised it hasn't
been targeted for mass burnings.
independent origins are in "El Mariachi", directed by Rodriguez for 7
(best money he ever spent) grand. "El Mariachi's" salsa peppered
panache encouraged this studio version, but whatever Desperado is, it is not an
independent or "small" film.
appearances and hype-ola to the contrary, Desperado is a major effort, with
solid industry support. Antonio "Bloodsucker" Banderas, Cheech
"& Chong" Marin, Quentin "Oscar Speech" Tarantino, and
a host of others put a lot of firepower into the film. Which means also it has
an immediate press interest. What other 7 million dollar film got all of the
talk shows to tie into it this year? You'd think Desperado was Magnificent
Seven, Montezuma and The Alamo all wrapped into one for the press it got.
in this business for 25 minutes knows nothing is ever really what it seems. Why
do so many people believe Hollywood - the mother of all snake-oil salespersons?
Hollywood marketing is ruthless people, mo' money, wall street and other
people's money throwing momma from a train. Subliminal, superliminal and just
Desperado is full of special effects, such as explosions, fireballs and
muzzleflashes. Reputedly, much of the budget went into those pyrotechnics. Tho
its pacing is uneven, the majority of the piece is fast and furious - called
MTV-ish by some desperate for a comparison. As a professional editor, it felt
right to me.
costumes and sets feel right, and the script is fairly tight, but it had a
little of the old Miami Vice aroma. I would have added a few twists to make it
zingier, but the flick is enjoyable as is, cliches and all.
Without the hype, and perhaps a better trailer, I think Desperado would have
fared as well. It is fun, fast, and bodes well for Rodriguez's next
What does production and success of a film like this mean for the Third Coast
production environ, tho? I think it means that an independent film from the
Gulf won't have a rat's ass chance in hell of a similar reception. Without
interest from a significant subset of entrenched Hollywooders and the right
marketing plays,and/or substance, fine acting, and intelligent
visualization, you'll end up as only a footnote in the latest Movies On TV
But who cares what Hollywood thinks or how many stars and lines Desperado will
get from Leonard Maltin in 2015?
positioning and reception Desperado's supporters have achieved, see it for the
good film it is, and concentrate your own efforts on character development,
performance, riveting imagery and compelling storytelling. Even if you don't go
stratospheric, you'll have achieved a new level in your craft.
There is always room and
appreciation for quality.
"Twelve Steps to Generate a Sleeper Crossover Independent Megahit Small
Little Picture That Everyone Has To See"
| One aspect
of the biz is to create a "sleeper" hit. This avenue of remuneration
depends on the public believing that Hollywood Promoters don't know what
they've got, that the public has discovered\defined a hit without
"hype", and that even though the studios aren't advertising it, [this
film] has such good word-of-mouth that everyone has to see it!
many films carry the banner "sleeper hit of the year" in their ads?
Ross Perot was in charge of publicity. Here's how to do it, grassrooters.
- Ah, must be another in the
- Make people think its a
sleeper, and they'll see it!
- HEY! WHAT A GREAT IDEA!
If the above doesn't work, you
could betray the system, pull a soderberg, and create something of substance
from honest hard work, real relationships, and perfection of your craft that
people would want to see...
- 1. Pick a story that has
action, revenge, and sex, but no messy substance. (Disaffection, youth and
trendy political thought including valid and invalid world views are good
script crutches if you are interestingly challenged).
- 2. Pick a heretofore
unheralded minority (sorry, drag Queens already have Too, Too Wong Foo and
Priscilla, and the Chinese have Jackie Chan, but there's no good Native
American showing yet, or Eskimo for that matter. Maybe the Coushattas can score
here). Check for "That's Our Story" rallying potential.
- 3. Pick a location that
defies understanding, such as Bourbon Street, LSU, or Denny's.
- 4. Populate the film with
local characters, or really famous actors in cameos, or allude to them.
- 5. Explain publicly how the
picture has its origins in credit- card financing, how the girlfriend of the
director stole all of the sound reels, or make something else up to authentify
the unprofessional\shoestring against-all-odds nature of the
- 6. Publicly detail
difficulties in production to make the locale of the picture come alive - bad
water, rain, typhoons, rickets, alligators up to your etc.
- 7. Make the main
actors\producers seem more human through tales of parking ticket hell, food
peculiarities, or prostitution arrests, especially when tabloids are involved.
- 8. Add really cool
renegade-rebel out of the mainstream music to the production. Spend your last
penny to procure a song that everyone knows and seems significant to the
picture, but don't worry about if it is.
- 9. Pretend you don't care
what Hollywood thinks.
- 10. Pretend you don't care
what the public thinks, but poll continuously to make sure they think you are
- 11. Fight strenuously for a
Director's Cut, even though you shot 1 to 1.
- 12. Make the talk shows
looking frumpy, out of kilter, or just plain bad hair day. Stay up for several
nights before taping to emphasize your naturally raccooned eyes, and play off
perky host with your disaffected hip to accentuate the desirability of spending
6 bucks and ninety seven minutes immersed in your total idea of cool.
- 13. If the Rolling Stone
hasn't already come on board, seduce, woo, inebreize, hyp-mo-tyze or co-opt
some reviewer to wildly praise the film with words like cool, action, and sexy,
and invest in some half-point type to print his\her\its name.
- 14. Always colorize inside