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Monday, September 20, 2004

E's got the filmmaking bug again. A couple of days ago she showed me the documentary American Movie, a film made by the friend of a friend of hers that did well on the documentary circuit. Well enough for us to be able to rent it from a local video store. It's funny how many friends of friends she has doing stuff like this. I mentioned before (I think) how she's friends with a former animator on MTV's Celebrity Deathmatch.

Coincidentally, I read an interview with Kevin Smith (syndicated) in a local rag this morning that had to do with the release of the tenth aniversary edition of Clerks and how it inspired a generation of filmmakers who said, "Hey, if he can get famous doing a piece of crap like that, why can't I?" (Smith plans his next film to be a sequel - The Passion of the Clerks.)

But, the filmmaker being documented (i.e. not the one who made the actual film -- it took a minute for that to sink in) in American Movie, Mark Borchardt, was doing this well before Clerks, though few would argue that he's doing it as well or better. The man is, in short, a freak. A dedicated, hard-working, persevering freak, but a freak nonetheless. It's part of his charm. (Just how do you pronounce the word Coven anyway?) It's also why American Movie works.

Yes, Borchardt is a freak of the first order. Chances are, on your worst day, your life is still better than his (at least than the snippets of his life shown in the movie). You'll laugh and joke about what a pathetic mother he is. And yet, if you pay attention to how hard he tries to get his movies made, how often he falls off the horse only to get back on over the course of years, and how much crap he has to deal with in pursuit of his art, you're going to eventually, like it or not, compare his life with yours again, and wonder who the pathetic one is.

My question is this: How does a freak end up with so much video** film and ADR equipment when the couple of people I know who aren't freaks are filming things on Super 8s?

**[I replaced "video" with "film," as per E's correction. What'd I tell you? Filmmaking bug ;).]

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