Friday Flix: A Stitch of Plan 9
At the end of August I watched “Plan 9 From Outer Space”, which is consistently rated as one of the worst films ever made. (Although as I Tweeted, I didn’t find it as awful as “The Human Centipede” or “Troll” for that matter.) After the movie I watched the companion documentary because I was bored and I didn’t think the documentary would be longer than the freaking movie.
Between that and Tim Burton’s “Ed Wood” you get a pretty good idea about Plan 9’s director, Edward D. Wood. Basically he was a guy who had a lot of passion and enthusiasm but no training and very little talent. He could write a whole movie script in two weeks, but that script would probably be terrible. He was a lot more concerned with getting shots in the can than making sure those shots were any good, or even consistent.
It would be interesting if Ed Wood were transported into the modern world. With the cheapness of computer effects, he could probably get a ten-picture deal with Syfy to make terrible movies about Super Piranha vs. Mega Shark Squid or whatever. Or he could get some great cat videos posted on YouTube and become an Internet sensation.
The point though is first of all that enthusiasm does not equal talent. Just because you can write a lot of words on a computer screen, doesn’t mean any of those words will be any good. And you can try and try and try to get published, but maybe at some point you’ll have to realize that it’s not all an evil conspiracy against you; it might be that you just aren’t very good! The problem is that people as enthusiastic and passionate as an Ed Wood usually can’t see that they suck, like all those people on the first couple episodes of “American Idol.”
The other point gets back to something I mentioned on the Labor Day post. A big part of Wood’s problem was that he didn’t spend much time on his creations. He winged off a script in two weeks. He shot the script in another two weeks. Then maybe edited it in another two weeks. Most movies (at least these days) take a year or two to finish production, except those awful “Saw” movies that Wood also could have had some fun with. Maybe if Wood had spent two years on Plan 9 or any of his other terrible movies he could have made them good, or at least passable. For that matter, if instead of just driving out to Hollywood he had actually gone to film school, maybe he could have learned how to make good movies. That’s not to say he would have been Hitchcock or Bergman, but he might not be in the conversation for “Worst Director Ever.” Then again, if he were a good-not-great director would he have a cult of followers, a documentary, and a feature film about him? Probably not. So maybe being terrible is good if you’re really, really terrible.
The thing is, though, if you really love your story then you should take the time to make it as special as possible. Not to say everyone who works fast is terrible. Rod Serling could write “Twilight Zone” scripts just as fast and he was a genius. So there.
Monday: Everything You Know About This Blog is WRONG!!!